Poll: Do you Support The Republican Plan for Medicare?by Denise Early on Apr. 22, 2011, under Health
Republicans in Congress voted last week to change Medicare to a voucher program, starting in 2022. People turning 67 in 2022 and beyond, would receive a voucher from the government which would be used to purchase health insurance. The health insurance choices would be approved by the government and would include a range of plans, some with lower-cost, but higher co-pays and deductibles. Seniors would choose the plan that fits their perceived need for coverage as well as their voucher’s value.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) studied the voucher proposal and reported that voucher values would increase slightly each year, while health care costs would rise at a faster rate. According to the CBO, voucher coverage would not keep pace with health care costs, requiring seniors to pay more and more of their health care costs each year.
The value of vouchers would be based on the income level (and assets?) of each senior, so the lowest income seniors would get higher-value vouchers. Higher-income seniors would get lower-value vouchers and would have to pay more of their health insurance premium.
Republicans see vouchers as a way to control rising costs for Medicare by limiting the government’s responsibility to the cost of vouchers. Currently, Medicare’s budget depends on how much medical care people receive each year (for which Medicare pays the bills). Medicare spending is rising at 6-7% each year, which is the major problem for the future of the program. If the yearly increase in Medicare spending can be reduced to just 3-4%, Medicare in its current form will not go broke. But figuring out how to slow this increase in spending is the billion dollar question. Vouchers are the Republican answer to this question.
What do you think?