New Deficit Report Recommends Seniors Pay More For Medicareby Denise Early on Nov. 19, 2010, under Health
From Kaiser Health News: A debt reduction task force that was created by the Bipartisan Policy Center recently made recommendations for reducing government spending. The task force, made up of Republicans and Democrats, targets Medicare as too generous a program for seniors. I’ve posted excerpts from the article below.
Offering the latest tough-love strategy to reduce the nation’s debt, a panel of high-profile Republicans and Democrats on Wednesday recommended that Medicare beneficiaries pick up far more of their health care costs and the government substantially curb the amount both Medicare and Medicaid programs can grow in future years.
…The debt reduction task force was created by the Bipartisan Policy Center, established by former congressional leaders of both parties. Its recommendations come a week after the chairmen of President Barack Obama’s commission on controlling the national debt proposed increasing the age at which people qualify for Social Security to 68 by 2050.
…Right now, premiums account for 25 percent of the cost of Part B, or the physician component of the program, with the government paying the balance. The task force would increase beneficiaries’ share to 35 percent. [This means a much higher Part B premium from the current $96.40/month or $110.50/month.]
In addition, starting in 2018, traditional Medicare would be turned into a “premium support” program that would limit the rate of increase of federal spending per beneficiary to one percent above the growth rate of the economy. Under such a plan, beneficiaries likely would pay more to stay in traditional fee-for-service Medicare though they could save money by getting coverage though private health plans that would compete against each other for business.
“I think the premium support is a feasible way of controlling costs,” Rivlin said Wednesday at a press briefing.
…AARP Executive Vice President John Rother said his group would oppose premium support. Of the overall task force report, he said it “raises lots of questions because of how it shifts more costs to individuals.”