Government proposals to reform Medicare - part 1
It's Wednesday, April 13, 2011. I just heard on the way in that the Ryan proposal for Medicare would leave benefits intact for those now over 55. If it were enacted, those now under 55 would (after age 65?) get a voucher they could use to help buy medical insurance. The vouchers would increase at the general rate of inflation. Of course the cost of health insurance has been increasing faster than the general rate of inflation. The math of compound interest shows that
1. if general inflation stayed at 3% from the time you were 65 until you were 95,
2. and if the medical inflation rate stayed at 7%,
3. and if vouchers paid 75% of your insurance costs at age 65
- then the vouchers would pay 51% of your insurance costs at age 75, 35% at 85, and 24% at 95.
Of course the Ryan plan doesn’t change the deficit for 10 years, so it can be criticized as not radical enough. And there’s plenty of time for future elections to reverse any changes before those now 55 turn 65. If the Republicans reverse Obamacare, I’m pretty sure the Democrats will reverse anything the Republicans do now. Perhaps a time-averaged stalemate is better than any of the proposals we’re being offered(?)
Next up, President Obama's budget proposals tonight, which will certainly include proposed changes in Medicare.
here's the transcript of the story I mentioned, from NPR's Morning Edition
And "Ryan" is U.S. Representative Paul Ryan, who's head of the US House of Represntatives Budget Committee.