First, Medicare is not part of the general budget deficit & associated debt problem. That's because Medicare, like Social Security, has a dedicated fund separate from the general fund. It should be managed as a separate dedicated fund, not lumped into the general budget debate.
Second, if we spent per capita what every other industrial nation spends on health care, we would not have a long-term Medicare solvency problem. If we simply focus on cutting Medicare and Medicaid, we’re just shifting the rising costs to those least able to pay them: the elderly, the disabled and the poor, or people on their death bed. Is that the American way?
Solutions: First, we need to cut health care costs (not services). Second, in the next few decades, we all need to pay a little more out of our FICA payroll deductions to cover the fact that the baby boomers are reaching old age (maybe from 1.45% to 1.75% or something). After the wave of baby boomers passes, the deductions could decrease. Finally, if Congress insists on mixing the dedicated fund of Medicare with the general fund, then we should insist on cutting corporate welfare and increasing revenue from corporate profits to help meet Medicare's needs.
Wanna take Action? Start by calling Senator Kerry's office and tell him to get better control of his message (He is one of the super committee members). Here's a recent statement of his:
... the real problem for our country is not the short-term debt. We can deal with that. It’s the long-term debt. It’s the structural debt of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, measured against the demographics of our nation.
Unfortunately, his statements are playing into the hysteria that is enveloping the mentality that these safety nets should be cut. We need to re-frame the debate.
For Your Convenience:
DemocracyNow! August, 12, 2011.