...Expert Advise on Finding Savings by Bara Viada.
This seven point plan is a mixture of liberal, conservative, and independent ideas that taken as a whole would wring $1 Trillion of bottom line savings from Medicare over ten years. It is a mixture of ideas that tackle the problem from all sides.
1. Increase Medicare payroll tax: Raises the Medicare payroll tax from 2.9% to 3.9% that would raise $651 billion in savings over ten years.
2. Crack down on Medicare Fraud: Savings of $9 billion over ten years. [some believe this is much higher]
3. Streamline copayments, limit medigap coverage. This puts an incentive on individuals to not unnecessarily use medical care by having a new $550 annual deductible, a 20% co-pay up to $7500 a year, and barring supplemental coverage on the deductible and limiting it to 50% of the next $5000. Savings $38 billion over ten years.
4. Tax sugary drinks. A 3% tax would save $50 billion over ten years. [And a whole lot of diabetes misery.]
5. Reduce payments to health care providers. Various cuts to well healed teaching hospitals, providers whose expenses are outside the norm for the industry, and reimbursements on uncollectable co-pays and deductibles. Savings $48 billion over ten years.
6. Require drug companies to offer Medicaid rebates. This would require the Medicaid price for drugs to be extended to all low income Medicaid Part D beneficiaries. Savings $112 billion over ten years.
The article finished with an unspecified savings from an Independent Payment Advisory Board to limit the growth in spending.
Overall, this approaches the $1 trillion in savings.
[Editor note: These ideas are certainly nothing anyone will love, but as a whole it appears it is nothing that anyone can truly hate. For Medicare to survive it requires shared sacrifice. How do you rate it?]
There are some decent ideas here, but this bill could be greatly improved. For instance, we could lower the income thresholds at which Medicare recipients start to pay for more of their Part B premium. We have individuals making a hundred thousand dollars a year in retirement who receive Medicare benefits which are paid for by taxing workers making $40,000 a year. And you want to raise the Medicare tax? Why not insist that those who don't need the safety net stop using it? Better adjustments to Medicare are listed in the book "Resuscitating America - An Independent Voter's Guide to Restoring the American Dream."
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