Depending on who you ask, Medicare either needs to go away completely or it needs to be tweaked. Whether it requires a complete overhaul or should go the way of the dinosaurs is a debate that has raged on for a very long time.
“A lot of seniors have been up in arms lately over the call for Medicare reform,” notes Alan Weinstock, insurance broker with MedicareSupplementPlans.com. ‘There is a general fear that if the program is eliminated that the alternative will not provide the same level of care and service.”
Unfortunately, it’s not just the Medicare system that is broken. The entire American health care system has hit a rough patch. And it seems like everyone and no one has the right idea of how to fix both.
How to Fix the Medicare System
With health care costs – already the highest in the world – growing at a rate that poses a serious threat to patients, employers and the nation, efforts to reform both the health care and Medicare systems continue to face serious challenges that require various groups to work together.
While some experts have suggested turning Medicare into a voucher system, others suggestions have included adding a small premium to Medicare Parts A and D (this would automatically affect Medicare Part C) and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Still others have sung the praises of adopting new systems such as outcome based, best practice, capitation and others that are designed to rationalize service utilization.
The difficulty it seems isn’t coming up with ideas. The problem lies clearly in coming to a consensus on the best way to save Medicare.
Pathway to Prosperity Booklet
In his Pathway to Prosperity booklet, Representative P Ryan [R-Wis.) describes his plan for Medicare this way: “Starting in 2022, new Medicare beneficiaries will be enrolled in the same kind of health care program that members of Congress enjoy.” Although on the surface this may sound good, many skeptics claim that the differences between the Congressional health care plan and what the proposed Medicare plan would look like are crucial.
In essence, beginning in 2022 new Medicare beneficiaries would receive a “premium subsidy” paid directly to their health care plan of choice. This so-called voucher program would initially be worth $8,000 and increase at the same rate as the consumer price index in order to keep Medicare beneficiaries ahead of the rising tide. Ryan suggests that market factors would do the rest.
His belief is that the competition for seniors’ business would force the medical establishment to embrace strategies for better efficiencies and lower costs. Unfortunately, the average family health insurance premium has risen 27% since 2005, and there is concern that Ryan’s strategy won’t have the intended effect.
What it all boils down to is that there are a lot of ideas, but no consensus as to how to fix the Medicare program. That just means that it’s time to put our thinking caps back on.
The best Medicare Supplemental Insurance is one that provides full security to the people and hence is called Medigap, Medicare supplemental plans should be beneficial for the people.
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