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Is Medicare Responsible For The Federal Deficit?

medicare costsThere is a lot of out-of control spending that has lead to our debt crisis, including defense spending and entitlement spending. And unfortunately, Medicare will consume an increasing percentage of the country’s GDP as baby boomers retire.  Adding to the stress on the system, the overall dysfunction in our health care system is significantly hiking up costs for people in all age brackets.

If you’re solely relying on Medicare for your health care, you know that it does not cover everything. A senior must still pay around $4,600 in out-of-pocket cost even with Medicare. For the five million Medicare enrollees with the most health care needs, annual expenses can reach almost $11,000.

Is Medicare Is A Model for Cost-effective Health Care?

Unfortunately, no.  Mainly because the spending is simply not sustainable.  Fortunately, they are working in many areas to improve the efficiency of Medicare.

Medicare has:

  Provided data that allows us to monitor its performance
  Evaluated access to doctors and medical services
  Made us aware of geographic practice differences
  Tested and assessed the effect of payment reform on the delivery of health care services
  Enabled us to check hospital quality and provider-specific performance

Making Medicare More User Friendly

Because of how Medicare manages costs, 20 percent of Medicare members enroll in Medigap, which is a supplement plan, and a Prescription Drug Plan for what Medicare doesn’t cover. It does not usually cover medication, and Medigap plans take away the burden of Medicare deductibles and co-payments.

Medicare is a source of health security for some of the most vulnerable, and it must be protected for future generations.   The only way to do that is to reform it, to inject more market competition, and more price transparency.  I don’t expect there is a lot of political will to deal with the situation, but it will only become more urgent as we put off dealing with the inevitable.

 

 
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