Friday, July 29, 2011

Nancy Pelosi: 'Celebrating the 46th Anniversary of Medicare'

Source:House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi- House Democrats, holding a press conference celebrating the 46th anniversary of Medicare.

"Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats held a press conference ahead of the 46th anniversary of Medicare becoming law." 

The 46th Anniversary of Medicare and it should be celebrated because of the health insurance it's guaranteed for tens of millions of senior citizens since. And it's been a great success and has achieved the original purpose of its objective, which is not something that can be said as fact for a lot of other Federal programs. Perhaps not even a lot of other Federal programs. 

And I believe a big reason for its success, that it guarantees health insurance for everyone thats eligible for it. Meaning all senior citizens has a Patients Bill of Rights built into it. Which was also part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, meaning that Medicare can't dump its patients because they get sick and need health insurance or reach a lifetime cap on the amount of health insurance they consume in dollars. Or have a preexisting medical condition. (To use as examples) 

Another reason why Medicare has succeeded is unlike Medicaid, Medicare has a dedicated revenue source. Medicare is funded through part of the payroll tax, unlike Medicaid which has to come out of general revenue in the Federal Government as well as state government's. And the Federal Government actually has to pay more for Medicaid then it does but has never lived up to its own obligations that itself wrote into law when they created Medicaid back in 1965. 

Medicaid is something like a 40B$ program the entire U.S. Department of Education budget and is very expensive to run. Unlike the Federal Government that run Medicare on its own through the Health and Human Services Department. And again has a dedicated revenue source to fund the program and doesn't have to look to cut the Federal budget just to fund Medicare. 

But with Baby Boom Generation retiring which is a huge generation and the cost of their medical care coming down the road followed by Generation X (my generation) and others, it's time that we look to reform Medicare in a way that saves the program and makes it work even better. 

What I would like to see done with Medicare instead of turning it into a voucher system coming from the Tea Party and no longer guaranteeing health insurance for senior citizens and forcing senior citizens with a voucher to go get their own health insurance from the private sector, where private insurers wouldn't have to cover them and taking away part of their freedom of choice in health insurance, we should let seniors and every other American decide for themself where they get their health insurance, or let them have health savings accounts, if that is what they want.

Or instead of doing what the so-called Congressional Progressive Caucus and its allies want to do and convert Medicare into a single-payer health insurance program for everyone and taking away the freedom of choice for everyone to be able to decide where they get their health insurance. 

What I would like to do is give senior citizens the freedom of choice to decide for themselves where they get their own health insurance. They can stay on Medicare or with a voucher could decide to go into the private sector or even public sector as well. 

If we ever create a public option in health care reform that I would like to see. As well as reform the financing of Medicare, have the wealthy pay more into it before they are eligible to collect it and once they are on it. And raise the retirement age for people who are able to work longer and can afford to wait before they receive Medicare. We could fix the financing of medicare with the last two reforms alone. 

What could really save Medicare indefinitely where we may never have to worry about its financing again or at least not the Federal Government. Would be to get it off of the budget of the Federal Government all together, not eliminate it or turn it over to the states. But converting it into an independent non-profit health insurance service thats no longer run by the Federal Government. That would compete in the private market with other non-profit health insurers and hopefully a new public option would be part of its competition. 

Medicare could be well-regulated, meaning it would have to accept any senior citizen eligible for it. But maybe it would also accept people from all age groups as well (the public option) which would help cut its costs because it would be able to cover healthier people as well. 

And under my plan there would no longer be just one Medicare, each State would have it own Medicare system, but none of the states would run it. But there would be a Medicare service in each state: Medicare Maryland, Medicare Ohio, Medicare Florida, etc, every State. But each Medicare service would have to comply with a basic set of standards from the Federal Government. 

Under my plan Medicare would have its own Management and Board of Directors at the National and State Levels that they would select. Medicare has been a very successful Medical Insurance Program the last forty six years and we need to keep it as a very successful Health Insurer going forward. But for that to happen, we need to put some solid reforms on it and not do anything to it that could make it weaker. By eliminating the Freedom of Choice for its current patients and perhaps future patients.

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