If I was one of the “Powers that Be” running our federal government, I would not be long after I waved my democracy magic wand, and the public would care enough to vote. There has never been a more contentious issue with more complexity nor has there been a clearer contrast on the future direction to take this country. If there is one issue that will impact all of us regardless of age, healthcare, or even citizenship status it is the issue which will be the main focus of today’s program.
Regardless of who you are, and whether you like it or not, Medicare matters and here is why. The first reason is simple, you are paying for it, a lot more than you think too. Second, the program is set to be insolvent in the next decade. If you are a younger American like me, you are REALLY going to have to pay. Is it is morally wrong for one generation to have to pay a disproportionate amount of their total earnings and their children’s future for a government program that will probably not be there by the time we are eligible?
I think this issue is beyond complex, even for a policy wonk like me, but let me rephrase. Medicare as we know it now will not be there by the time I am eligible. What makes things even more sticky is the fact our country is facing a fiscal cliff because Washington has been asleep at the wheel.
Any politician who tells you they will preserve Medicare the way it is, is lying, it is not sustainable for future generations. Current beneficiaries will probably NOT see any changes to existing Medicare, but the benefits my grandma enjoyed will not be there for me. The Affordable Care Act adds plenty of new benefits for seniors does not really address future solvency, it just moves money around and at the end of the day, somebody is paying for it.
It is not a political issue. It is an issue of arithmetic. Despite being focus of nasty campaign commercials from both sides, presidential debates full of myth and dis-information and cable news featuring “experts” who have no clue what they are talking about, Medicare matters and needs to be taken very seriously.
Seeing the current Vice-President act like he did when this issue was being discussed makes it even more disheartening. At what point does Amateur end and we wake up as a nation and have an adult conversation about this issue?
If you are just joining us, the popular entitlement program was passed in 1965 and was estimated to cost American taxpayers $30 billion by 1990. Guess how much it cost? Around ten times as much or $300 billion and it costs well over $400 Billion today. It consumes a massive portion of our federal budget now and 10,000 people are retiring every day in the United States. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the problem
Meanwhile, new benefits have been added in recent decades, but at what cost and for what? Political gain.
Turn off the Saturday morning cartoons, because today we are going to have an adult conversation about Medicare, and why it matters more than any other political issue in this country. If you want to contribute to the conversation email the show at email@example.com or call me at 402-558-1110 or 1-800-543-1110. I am Sean McGuire and this is America’s Healthcare Challenge.