Republicans set to re-invent Medicare

Republicans set to re-invent Medicare

Republicans will present a budget plan for 2012 that will attempt to reduce spending by $4 trillion dollars over the next decade. The plan would dramatically reshape Medicare and the entire budget landscape.

From The Wall Street Journal: The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays health-care costs. Mr. Ryan and other conservatives say this is necessary because of the program’s soaring costs. Medicare cost $396.5 billion in 2010 and is projected to rise to $502.8 billion in 2016. At that pace, spending on the program would have doubled between 2002 and 2016.

Mr. Ryan’s proposal would convert Medicare into a “premium support” system for those now under the age of 55. Participants from that group would choose from an array of private insurance plans when they reach 65 and become eligible, and the government would pay about the first $15,000 in premiums. Those who are poorer or less healthy would receive bigger payments than others.

Democrats say the GOP plan will leave millions exposed to multiple risks. The Medicare premium subsidies would increase more slowly than health costs, they say, so seniors would end up with less coverage over time.

Republicans say the plan would introduce more competition and thus, reduce costs.

Good luck with that one, kids. I’ve never known a business to say ‘hey, let’s lower costs – we’re making too much money.’

I personally think changes do need to be made, but not sure I trust the Republicans – who are always looking out for their own wallet – to protect the average citizens of the country. The wealthy, yes. But that word “protect” can be a tricky thing, don’t you know, when we’re talking about average Americans.