Instead of paying for your healthcare, your nursing home, your cancer treatments, your severely ill children, the Republicans wants to give you an annual gift certificate for a fixed amount to buy health care on the private markets. And if that amount doesn't cover your bills--and it won't if you have anything remotely serious happen to you--well, you better hope you have $60,000 stored away to spend on medication and chemo and gall bladder surgery.
Do you like arguing with insurance companies on the phone? How does your 90-year-old grandma feel about it?
The Republican Platform’s Big Medicare Reveal | TPMDC
The text details the privatization policy that GOP lawmakers have supported for years, and that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are selling as necessary to “save” Medicare. But in an unusual twist, it addresses the specific aspect of the proposal that makes it a departure from what Americans know as “Medicare.”
“The first step is to move the two programs [Medicare and Medicaid] away from their current unsustainable defined-benefit entitlement model to a fiscally sound defined-contribution model,” the draft platform reads. “While retaining the option of traditional Medicare in competition with private plans, we call for a transition to a premium-support model for Medicare, with an income-adjusted contribution toward a health plan of the enrollee’s choice. This model will include private health insurance plans that provide catastrophic protection, to ensure the continuation of doctor-patient relationships.”
The esoteric language gets to the heart of the change that ends the basic structure of Medicare. Since its inception in 1965, Medicare has been a government-run insurance program that directly pays medical bills for the elderly per their needs (i.e. “defined benefit”). Republicans want to turn it into a partially privatized system that pays seniors a fixed amount to buy their own health insurance (i.e. “defined contribution”).
“Under the defined contribution approach envisaged by the Rivlin-Ryan plan [a proposal that’s remarkably similar to Romney’s], most of the risk of future health-care cost increases would be shifted onto the shoulders of Medicare beneficiaries,” Uwe Reinhardt, a health policy expert at Princeton University, said last year. “This feature makes the proposal radical.”
. . .