Jumping Into Medicare For All With Eyes Wide Shut.
|Singleton, Marilyn M.
* The unveiling of the ballyhooed House of Representatives Medicare for All Act of 2019 bill will be met with chants of "equal healthcare for all!" While the country will be forced into a government-run program, the limousine liberals and champagne socialists will keep their array of medical care choices--whether on or off the record.
A key feature of the Medicare-for-All bills is the elimination of private health insurance that duplicates benefits offered by the government. Given the coercive nature of the existing Medicare program, we should be very concerned. Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) is mandatory for those eligible for Medicare who receive Social Security payments. If beneficiaries want to opt out of Part A, they must forfeit all of their Social Security payments--including paying back any Social Security benefits received up to the time Part A was declined. So a "beneficiary" is punished for saving federal dollars by declining to be on the government healthcare dole.
Enrollment in Medicare Part B (all physician and most outpatient services) is not mandatory but beneficiaries are financially coerced to enroll. The standard 2019 Part B premium amount is $135.50 per month, progressing to $460.50 based on income. But if a beneficiary doesn't sign up for Part B when first eligible, he must pay a lifelong penalty of 10 percent for each full 12-month period that he could have had Part B. So if the beneficiary waited 3 years before signing up, he would pay a 30 percent higher premium throughout his lifetime.
Medicare Part D (prescription drugs) also imposes penalties on those who do not sign up when eligible unless they are in a Medicare Part C/Medicare Advantage HMO that covers drugs. The lifetime penalty is not trivial: one percent per month of the average monthly premium (currently about $33) for all the months they were not signed up.
Will we be somehow punished if we do not want to enroll in the new government program? Will there be an "individual mandate" penalty? Hopefully we'll know before the bill is passed and we can find out what's in it.
Another troubling aspect of a new government health program is the lack of an articulated budget or cost controls. According to the Medicare Board of Trustees 2018 Report, Medicare's Part A trust fund will be depleted in 2026, three years earlier than the 2017 projection. Our 2017 healthcare costs were $3.5 trillion with $1.2 trillion attributed to Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's...
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