– Give people now on Medicare (46 million of them as of May 2011) one of two options: (1) stay with the current program and continue to pay the monthly premium ($96) out of their SS checks plus whatever they pay for suplimental insurance or (2) begin a new healthcare delivery plan composed of a health savings account and high deductible catastrophic insurance. All decisions on care would then be between the doctor and the senior citizen patient
– In the second above option, folks now on Medicare could start a medical savings accounts by rolling over a sum (up to $5000), without penalty, from an IRA, or home equity, and then begin paying the $96 monthly premium to their own medical savings account ($1152 per year) instead of to the Federal Government. Any unused portion would be theirs, not the government’s at the end of the year.
– People who are now between the ages of 55 and 64 could opt to never be qualified for Medicare benefits or stay contributing 2.9% of their income (1.5% from their payroll and 1.5%, paid by the employer) to that shrinking healthcare program, realizing that Medicare will be eliminated within 10 years. If they choose to opt out of Medicare for the medical savings account plan they would still be required to have .75% of their income (through a payroll tax) paid into a their own health savings account while the other .75%, paid by the employer, would go to the Federal government to continue their obligation to contribute (as long as they are employed) to the those still receiving Medicare benefits for the next 10 years
– People employed between the ages of 18 and 54 would not contribute any of their income to the Federal government for Medicare because of its impending elimination but instead 2.9% of their income (that which used to be sent to the Federal Government) would be required by law to go into a privatized, qualified health related 401K; as a health savings account.
– Employers would be required to pay a sum, determined by company size and a sliding scale, into all working people’s health savings accounts (HSAs), but would no longer be sending $13,000 per year per employee to a managed care organization that siphons off 25% for administrative costs. The cost to business would thus be lowered by at least 25%. The dollars put into HSAs, if not used, would be retained by the employee instead of the insurance company. If it grew excessively, a portion of it could be rolled into an IRA for retirement purposes.
– The Medicare trust fund that pays hospital bills for older Americans is expected to run out of money in 2017, two years sooner than projected last year. The Social Security trust fund will be exhausted in 2037, four years earlier than predicted.
– Prior to 1965 seniors sought medical care only for critical issues and their hospitalization premiums were easily affordable. Physicians never turned people away who could not pay up front or reimburse them over an extended period of time. Some of us accepted “in kind” payments from ranchers and farmers, instead of cash.