Paying More for Medicare

One of the most commonly heard criticisms on the Ryan plan is that even though it will reduce the cost of Medicare to the government and move us more toward solvency, it will increase the amount of medical care that will have to be paid for by seniors.

The answer to this critique is not that they won’t be paying more, but rather, of course they will be paying more. Medicare is going broke, and the reason why is that it is unaffordable in its current form to the government. Paying more by seniors is certain – both by Ryan’s plan but also by doing nothing — because the system right now is almost bankrupt.

Ryan is trying to minimize the extra cost to those 55 and over by modifying how the system is subsidized by the government. The Ryan plan is the best one out there right now because it will allow the seniors to choose the kind of coverage options they want. Democrats try to say that the insurance companies will gouge seniors, but you simply can’t engage in price gouging when there are competing businesses. The people will select the health the coverage they want for their particular needs and ability.

The rational view for the future of health care is that the retiree will want to have choices for medical care, such as choosing a private room or shared, a hip replacement or hobbling a bit. It should be up to the individual if they want a procedure that is more or less invasive, standard or innovative. Having choices drive competition, which will in turn drive down the cost.

The hysteria that costs are going to rise is absurd because, although the Democrats won’t say so, costs will rise regardless of any plan because the system is broken. At least the Ryan plan is an alternative solution to Medicare, which, according the very trustees of Medicare, is completely unsustainable in its present form:

Medicare and Social Security “are on unsustainable paths” and will be insolvent within a few decades, according to the 2012 annual report of trustees of the funds. Since 1970, Medicare trustees have predicted the end is near and then nearer. The program must soon face up to demographic realities: Americans are living longer and fewer workers are paying Medicare and Social Security funds per retired citizen.

And in a letter to the Senate Budget Committee, in fact, the actuary at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services proffered a different set of more realistic circumstances—that the trustees themselves are being far too optimistic with their projections. In the actuary’s scenario, wherein we discount next year’s imaginary 30 percent rate cut to doctors and Obamacare’s supernatural ability to hold down costs, there will be an additional $10 trillion unfunded obligation over that 75 years.

Medicare trustees have warned that the program is facing more than $36 trillion in unfunded obligations. There needs to be a major change to the way it works but the Democrats are unwilling to acknowledge this fact or provide any solutions – only attacks. In doing so, the Democrats are really saying that they don’t care if they destroy Medicare.

It is imperative that the Republicans stand by Ryan and continue to hammer home the point that the Democrats have no Medicare plan, just like they have no budget plan (for 1200 days and counting). By doing nothing and keeping Medicare the way it is, the Democrats will surely hasten the demise of the program within ten years. What will happen to the seniors then?

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