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Guest opinion: Medicare and politics — It’s enough to make you sick

August 25, 2012
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

I have read the Affordable Care Act and discussed it with seniors, doctors, nurses and health care providers. It is sad to say there is more political rhetoric than truth in what is understood about health care in the U.S. My goal has been to understand what is really going on with the law and its impact on Medicare.

The problem with Medicare (and health care in general) is that we have let the COSTS skyrocket to the point where we pay over $8,000 per person per year for health care in the U.S. compared to an average of $3,000 in other modern countries. And, overall, the U.S. is ranked about average for quality. It is critical to see if any plan will cut our costs and improve quality.

Cuts to Medicare: Both the Affordable Care Act and the Ryan plan cut about 700 billion from Medicare over 10 years. It is important to note is that most of the 700 billion cut under the Affordable Care Act comes from fraud reduction and removing premium support to private insurance companies not cuts to benefits or doctors.

Let's compare the Cost and Benefits to seniors on Medicare in three scenarios (With the Affordable Care Act, if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, or under a voucher plan) Note: Medicare under the Affordable Care Act is the only plan that addresses the elephant in the room, the high cost of health care.

Compare what happens to senior's benefits, cost and impact on the deficit before you decide.

Scenario 1: Medicare with the Affordable Care Act,

Seniors on Medicare get free preventative care and the donut hole closes by 2020. On the quality side, there are several systems put in place to improve the quality of care and reward Doctors and providers for improving care.

On the cost side, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scores the Affordable Care Act as saving money and extending the life of the Medicare pool and helping reduce the budget deficit.

This will cut the rate of increase in Medicare in half and reduce the long term increases in Medicare premiums and co-pays for seniors.

The CBO states that in the second decade of the Affordable Care Act, the budget deficit will be reduced by nearly a trillion dollars.

Scenario 2: Repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Seniors lose $650 per year and the rate of increase of medical costs goes back up which will mean higher premiums and co-pays.

Nothing is done to reduce the cost or improve the quality.

The CBO reports the repeal of the Affordable Care act will add an additional 109 billion to the deficit.

Scenario 3: The voucher plan proposed by Congressman Ryan and supported by candidate Radel includes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act

Seniors lose $650 per year and the rate of increase of medical costs goes back up which will mean higher premiums and co-pays.

It is projected to increase the cost to people 55 and under by thousands when they reach age 65

Nothing is done to reduce the cost or improve the quality.

Impact on the deficit includes across the board cuts to government spending.

Fixing our health care cost and quality problems in the U.S. is not easy. This is NOT a Democrat, Republican, Liberal or Conservative problem. The cost and quality of Health care is a problem that requires hard work and a spirit of cooperation from your congressman.

Jim Roach, a Democrat, is a candidate for Congress, District 19

 
 
 

 

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