Polls say older Americans highly resistant to Medicare Changes, Ryan Plan
Survey in June 2011 found just 33% of senior citizens think Medicare needs major changes or to be completely rebuilt
According to Kaiser Health News senior citizens do not like the idea of making changes to Medicare and only a handful think the program needs major changes, according to a commentary by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
In looking at the results of a Pew Research survey in May of 2011, the analysis says that seniors are not only “wary of changes,” compared with younger people “they are more positive about the way the program operates, less apt to think that changes are needed and far less disposed towards Paul Ryan’s proposal to reshape Medicare.”
Senior citizens expressed a negative view of the Ryan plan to change Medicare. Pew found “51% opposed the plan (including 43% who opposed it strongly) compared with only 25% who favored the plan. People under the age of 50 offered far more support than those over 50 for Ryan’s Medicare plan.”
They uncovered an interesting contrast in views of Medicare and Social Security between those age 65 and older versus those under 65. The vast majority of senior citizens (61%) said Medicare does and excellent or good job and 57% offered a similar view of Social Security. Those under 65 said the two programs do only a “fair or poor job.”
“In addition, just 33% of those 65 and older said they think Medicare needs major changes or needs to be completely rebuilt. Similarly, few seniors (30%) supported major changes or a complete rebuilding of Social Security. Support for changing Social Security and Medicare was far higher among those under 65,” reports the Pew analysis.
Seniors and younger voters “prioritize the protection of Medicare and Social Security benefits over deficit reduction by wide margins.” Two-thirds (66%) of seniors said it is more important to keep Social Security and Medicare as they are. Just (20%prioritized deficit reduction).
Seniors (54%) also do not want low income people to lose Medicaid benefits. Just 34% said states should be able to decide who is eligible for Medicaid to deal with budget problems.
Republicans and those leaning Republican are almost evenly split along income lines – those with incomes over $75,000 say it is important to reduce the deficit (63%), while those with incomes for $30,000 or less says it is more important to maintain Social Security and Medicare benefits (62%)
“Among Republicans and Republican leaners who agree with the Tea Party, 57% view deficit reduction as more important than preserving Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are. Among Republicans and leaners who do not agree with the Tea Party, just 36% say that reducing the deficit is more important than maintaining benefits,” the report states.
Now that Candidate Romney has announced his choice of running mate the main campaign issue, according to a recent Pew Poll, Medicare,
Seniors, the disadvantaged, children, single parents, the poor, minorities, the unemployed, the 99% all would be under threat of disenfranchisement if the Romney/Ryan ticket were to be successful.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are all destined for radical change, if not total removal under the Romney/Ryan plan. The Romney/Ryan plan would dismantle the program as we know it and replace it with a voucher or yearly payment to a Senior. It would be then up to the Senior to either use that payment to buy a private insurance plan or pay their physician and or hospitals directly. The dollar amount of the proposed voucher is a closely a held secret, somewhat like the amount Romney has paid in taxes.
The plan also calls for the voucher to increase by the annual percentage rate of GDP growth plus .5%. As a matter of interest the average rate of US GDP growth over the last five years has been .54% according to data from the World Bank so, for instance, if the voucher were $10,000 per person the first year it would increase to $10,104 the following year.
According to a Kaiser Foundation Study the average, for the ten year period 1999 to 2009, health insurance premiums rose by an average of 13.1% per year.
In a 2008 study the average cost of Medicare per senior was $9,100 per year and one can assume that that figure has increased over the last four years but even using that figure and the Romney/Ryan figure it is easy to see that there will be a shortfall, or increased out of pocket cost to the Senior, under the Romney/Ryan plan.
The GOP is trying to sell their proposal to end Medicare by stating that it would not effect the current seniors who have Medicare coverage however the whole truth is somewhat different as can be seen in this article by Igor Volsky
How The Romney/Ryan Medicare Plan Would Affect Today’s Seniors
By Igor Volsky on Aug 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm
The Romney campaign tries to sell its Medicare privatization scheme to seniors by arguing that the controversial premium support structure would only affect future retirees and preserve existing benefits for Americans over the age of 55. But while today’s elderly population would remain in traditional fee-for-service Medicare under the Ryan proposal, they too could be affected by Ryan’s ambitious restructuring scheme. Here is why:
As soon as private insurers start offering coverage to future retirees in 2023, they’ll do exactly what private plans are already doing in the Medicare Advantage program: cherry pick the healthiest applicants and leave sicker, more expensive beneficiaries in traditional Medicare. Mechanisms that prevent companies from skimming from the top — what wonks call “risk adjustment” — are imperfect, and so it’s likely that traditional Medicare would have to raise premiums to make up the difference.
This is where things can spiral out of control. Higher premiums encourage healthier beneficiaries who are still in traditional Medicare to opt into the private coverage, increasing costs even higher. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ (CBPP) Paul Van de Water observes, “over time, traditional Medicare would become less financially viable and could unravel — not because it was less efficient than the private plans, but because it was competing on an unlevel playing field in which private plans captured the healthier beneficiaries and incurred lower costs as a result.”
As the size of the Medicare population shrinks, “administrative costs would rise relative to benefit payments, traditional Medicare’s power to demand lower payment rates from providers would erode, and providers would have less incentive to participate in the program. As a result, people now age 55 and older might well face higher premiums and cost sharing for traditional Medicare, a more limited choice of providers, or both.”
Frankly it is no wonder we seniors do not like the Romney/Ryan plan but it is somewhat surprising that those 50 yr old, soon to be seniors, would be happy with the dismantling of Medicare.
Some more links that may be of interest: