Do You Know Where Your Candidates Stand on Medicare?

It Could Cost Them Votes.


The next Congress could decide its fate

Take a stand on Medicare with us!

If you are over 65 – or under 65 and disabled – and you receive Medicare benefits, chances are you’ve never before had to consider how your Congressional candidates stand on Medicare policy. Medicare has chugged along over the years since its inception under President Johnson in 1965.

This year, that has all changed. If you value your future Medicare benefits, pay attention to what the candidates are saying and vote accordingly.

As we discussed a few blogs ago, the House Majority (Republicans) has published a proposed 2019 budget that would essentially end Medicare as we know it. Cuts to Medicare – and Medicaid – would amount to $2.1 trillion over the next decade.

Their idea is to replace existing Medicare with a system where beneficiaries would choose from a competing number of private plans. Each Medicare beneficiary would receive a certain amount to pay for the plan – not necessarily an amount that would pay for the entire plan.

The stand on Medicare’s financial picture

The Republicans’ proposal is designed to lower the ever-growing federal deficit. So how much of the Federal Budget does Medicare take? The same percentage of the total as a defense. Medicare accounts for 15 percent of the 2017 budget ($519 billion), equal to defense spending. Medicare accounts for 11 percent. Social Security accounts for 23 percent.

The interesting thing is how they are funded. Medicare is funded from three sources: general revenue, 41 percent; payroll taxes, 37 percent; and beneficiary premiums, 14 percent.

If you break that down further, 87 percent of Part A (hospital insurance) is paid for by payroll taxes. Part B (medical insurance) is paid for as follows: 71 percent by general revenue and 27 percent by beneficiary premiums; and Part D (prescription drug coverage), 73% percent by general revenue, and 15 percent by beneficiary premiums. General revenue means money from taxes – so, in reality, we are funding most of Medicare in one way or another!

Issues for the future

There are two things that will increase the percentage that Medicare holds of the pie in the future: increasing costs and an aging population. Both will put pressure on the budget so. Reforms are needed – not to the overall system but to Part B and Part D costs.

Unless you share the opinion that Medicare should be gutted and completely changed, it is a good idea to investigate where your candidates stand. This goes for Democrats and Republicans alike. It’s your healthcare future that Congress is putting in jeopardy.

Gutting Medicare will not resolve the federal deficit. Back to the drawing board, Reps. Understand that affordable healthcare for seniors is one of the most important tasks on your agenda.

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