A doctor friend asked me what I was working on. I told her I was writing; the topic was a straightforward, no-nonsense look at how the new healthcare bill will affect Medicare, the government run program that provides health care to over 37 million American 65 years or older. I wanted my work to be a well-balanced article, not shaded by partisan politics or opinion; I wanted only the ‘facts.’ My friend laughed and told me that was a rather presumptuous thing I was doing, as no one else has been able to do that before. With that she wished me luck, and walked away.
Undaunted, I set out to do some research. Newsweek, Forbes, CNN, Fox News, the New York Times, AARP, Medicare.com, among others touted the pros and the cons of the Obama Health Care (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). Most pundits generally do agree on one thing: : Medicare has been in financial trouble for years and something must be done to fix the problem. However, it seems that depending upon who is asked; the changes to Medicare would either greatly help, or hurt most seniors. It was the best thing – or the worst thing – to ever happen to Medicare in modern times.
So which was it? Is reform good or bad?
Well, it seems that the goal of the new Obama health care plan contains costs.
Not so fast. Not if you ask the 10 million Americans covered by Medicare Advantage, the privately run alternative to government health care which provide dental and vision care not covered by traditional Medicare. In actuality, much of the cost savings that go to support traditional Medicare would come from cuts in Medicare Advantage. These cuts will significantly raise Medicare Advantage deductibles and premiums, and force participating seniors to bear a large part of this cost burden to help traditional Medicare. Robbing Peter to pay Paul does not sound like a good strategy to these Americans.
But Medicare would be placed on better financial footing by removing no-bid private plans, and create a net savings of about $316 billion over the next decade. When these savings are added to $318 billion in new tax revenue, $634 billion is available to insure about 32 million of currently uninsured Americans.
Sounds great, right?
Not to the individuals and family taxpayers, including small business owners, earning over $200,000 and $250,000; who would fund this new tax revenue. These citizen are growing increasingly angry about the increased taxation, feeling disproportionately penalized for being productive. Small business owners claim that these tax increases also impede their ability to create more jobs. Ouch!
And then there is the debate on quality of care…
Somehow, I know my friend is out there somewhere, giggling.
By Elle Dee