Since Medicares inception in 1965, Medicare has been a government run insurance program that directly pays medical bills for the elderly per need (defined benefit). Republicans want to turn it in to a partially privatized system that pays seniors a fixed amount to buy their own health insurance (defined contribution). Paul ryan trotted out his budget bill again showing his Medicare voucher system under a different name. The CBO found that the plan wil raise seniors out of pocket medical expenses by thousands of dollars. The Republican platform claims that the competition caused by privitization will lead to major cost savings, though little evidence exists to support this arguement. According to another CBO analysis privatizing health care would actually spark a dramatic increase in how much the nation spends on Medicare. The Republicans would protect everyone 56 and older, they would see no change in benefits.
Most people on Medicare cannot afford to pay more. Half of all Medicare recipients live on annual incomes of $22,000 or less and have less than $53,000 in personal savings. People on Medicare already contribute a significant amount towards their health care costs. Medicare households spend an average of 15% of their total income on health care. 3 times the amount of no Medicare households. Recent analysis show that Medicare costs are slowing dramatically, far below that of private health care spending. The U.S. Department of Health and Human services confirms that slowed growth over the last 3 years is unprecedented in the history of the Medicare program. As a result of this deceleration, the CBO reduced its 10 year estimates on expected Medicare spending by almost $140 billion.
Health care costs are a major problem, many believe Medicare is the solution. Steadily rising health care costs are a true threat to our economic health, not Medicare. Over the next 10 years Medicare costs are expected to grow 3.1% as opposed to 5% for private health care. The CBO says that we could save $137.4 billion by 2022, but because many in Congress are afraid to upset the Pharmaceutical apple cart, we wont. Pharmaceutical companies charge more for Medicare drugsthan what the government pays to supply drugs for the Department of Veterans Affairs and Medicaid. The Pharmaceutical companies oppose proposals that would allow the government to negotitate lower prices,as does Americas Health Insurance Plans, the trade group that represents the companies that provide the subsidized drug benefits known as Medicare Part D to 295 million people. Together the Pharmaceutical and Health Insurance companies have spent nearly $4.4 billion lobbying Congress and federal agencies since 1998 on Medicare and other issues.
The Republicans apperently are recieving quite a bit of the lobbying money, they continue to try to privatize Medicare. President Obama and the Democrats need to stand strong and stop the Republicans from robbing the rest of America. I guess we will see if they stand tall for the 99%.