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MEDICARE ---SHOULD BE $300.00
posted at July 7, 2012 12:20 PM EDT
First: February 29, 2008
Last: March 7, 2014
PART B PREMIUM SHOULD BE $300.
The bad news for Medicare is that the Part B premium really should be much higher, because $99.90 times 47 million Medicare beneficiaries equals just 25% of the total money spent under Part B. This means that 75% of Medicare Part B expenditures are paid through the federal government’s general fund. And this is what politicians are fighting over as they seek to cut the federal budget. Republicans want to cut the amount of general revenue funds that go to Medicare – but how to do that without hurting seniors is the trillion dollar question.
Medicare Part A covers hospitalization, skilled nursing facility charges, home health care, and hospice. Payroll taxes go directly to the Part A TRUST fund, and tax revenues covered all Part A expenditures up until 2008. Since 2008, the trust fund has had to use some of its surplus saved up from previous years to balance the Part A budget.
The Part B budget is way out of balance because Part B premium revenues cover only 25% of Part B expenditures. Part B covers things such as doctor services, lab tests, diagnostic tests, physical therapy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
During the Bush Administration, Congress approved higher Part B premiums for Medicare beneficiaries earning more than $85,000 as an individual or $170.000 as a couple. Premiums are based on a sliding scale for income up to $214,000 for an individual and $428,000 for a couple. The highest Part B premium will be $319.70 in 2012.
About 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries now pay a higher premium based on their income. Under some budget-cutting plans, 25% of seniors would pay a higher Part B premium in the future.
Common sense was not on display in seeking a path to reform healthcare coverage by protecting the least-efficient model - the for-profit insurance industry that through waste, fraud, abuse and bureaucracy and PROFITS eats up 31 percent of the cost of health care. Today we have 1,300 separate pools - separate health care plans - and that is why health care is so expensive; and one pool would be the least expensive. That's why single payer (medicare for EVERYONE) is the answer.