Republicans have introduced their “Pathway to Prosperity”, a plan for slashing the federal budget by four trillions dollars over the next ten years. The Republican plan will end Medicare as we know it and create a new program in which seniors and disabled Americans will buy private insurance with vouchers from the government.
People who turn 55 this year, and everyone already over 55, will be able to participate in the current Medicare program. Younger Americans will participate in the Republican version of Medicare.
But there is one little detail those youngsters need to be aware of….. Republicans plan to raise the eligibility age for Medicare to 67. So if you are 50 now and were thinking you’d retire with Medicare health insurance at 65…..think again. The Republican plan adds two months each year to the Medicare eligibility age until 2033, when it reaches 67.
Something else for youngsters to consider….The Republican “Pathway to Prosperity” also calls for repeal of the Affordable Care Act which makes health insurance available to everyone starting in 2014. Without the Affordable Care Act… if you are too fat, too skinny, a cancer survivor, a diabetic.. .or if you have one of 40 to 50 pre-existing conditions…. you are uninsurable. That means, no matter how much money you are willing or able to pay for health insurance…. you will be denied.
I have met far too many people who were elated to turn 65 so they could finally get health insurance… or get rid of the expensive, high-deductible plan they had been paying $800 per month for…. and finally get decent health insurance with Medicare. Getting Medicare will be further down the Republican “Pathway to Prosperity”.
The Republican plan will put an end to Medicare, which has administrative costs of 3 to 6%. Republicans will turn over the health and welfare of seniors and disabled people to insurance companies, which have overhead costs of around 20% – including profit margins. The Republican plan does nothing to address the rising cost of health care.
The only good thing I see about “The Pathway to Prosperity” is that Republicans are being very honest about their plans for Medicare. This issue will be at the heart of the 2012 elections, and voters will have to decide if they want their old age benefits in the hands of Republicans and insurance companies or the government. It should be an interesting election season in 2012.