Medicare Won’t Cover Most Vision, Dental and Hearing. Dems Want to Change That.
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“Medicare is the kind of program where you’d expect the benefits would be expanded over and over again. It’s popular, and benefits expansions poll well,” said Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of health policy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and author of the book “The Political Life of Medicare.” “It’s one of the great puzzles of Medicare politics: why benefit expansions have been so rare.”
In fact, in the 56 years since Medicare became law, only a few benefits have been added to the package, which was created to emulate a 1965 Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan. During the 1980s and ’90s some preventive care was added, like pneumonia vaccines and mammograms. Republicans spearheaded the addition of prescription drug coverage in 2003, when they controlled both Congress and the White House. But they decided to make that coverage separate from the program’s traditional benefit package.
Other efforts to expand benefits have not gone so well. In 1988, a bipartisan effort in Congress produced the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act, which would have added drug coverage to traditional Medicare and also would have plugged a hole: the fact that there is no limit on the amount patients can be charged for their share of covered services. That law, however, was repealed just a year later after seniors rebelled against being asked to foot most of the bill for the new benefits via a new income “surtax.” Today, Medicare beneficiaries still face the risk of unlimited expenses.
Medicare is funded by a combination of money paid directly to the government from paychecks and taxes paid by working Americans and their employers. That brings us to another big reason Medicare’s benefit package hasn’t been beefed up more — the cost of the current program. “When Medicare was created, its architects assumed expansion, both in terms of population and in terms of benefits later,” said Oberlander. “They didn’t anticipate the shift in American politics to the right, and they didn’t anticipate that Medicare would be labeled a fiscal problem and that policymakers would be more concerned with avoiding the next trust fund shortfall than expanding benefits.”
August 12, 2021 at 10:03 AM #439841
August 12, 2021 at 10:48 AM #439843djean111Participant
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waiting for this. This would be swell, of course, but now everything the Dems say like this sounds like campaign pandering. Go ahead, change my mind.
During the 1980s and ’90s some preventive care was added, like pneumonia vaccines and mammograms.
Those must be really good little moneymakers for insurance companies, because those are literally the ONLY things my doctor cares about.
America is not a country, it's just a business. (Brad Pitt, Killing Them Softly)
Everything I post is just my opinion, and, honestly, I would love to be wrong.
August 12, 2021 at 2:59 PM #439869jbnwParticipant
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If only they had something like the House, Senate and Presidency.
Statements like “Democrats want” are usually flat-out lies. If they wanted, they would do instead of just talk.
August 12, 2021 at 3:20 PM #439879
August 12, 2021 at 6:17 PM #439905Utopian LeftistParticipant
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And yet, we know that’s exactly what will happen: Man-chin or Sinne-much will force all benefits expansions to be nixed out of the final version, so that the Dems have “plausible deniability” for their weak-ass (intentional) failures.
"All fascism is a result of a failure of the left to provide a viable alternative." ~ Trotsky
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” ~ Krishnamurti
August 12, 2021 at 8:14 PM #439931Babel 17Participant
- Total Posts: 5,328
Maybe start with that, and have no more of those “fun” surprises.
I guess our pals in Congress are afraid of raising a ruckus over adding a few billion dollars extra to their trillion dollar budgets.
rising Medicare premiums can prevent your Social Security benefits from going up, or going up as much as they otherwise would, by eating into increases from cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs).
That happened in 2018, after two straight years of Medicare Part B premium hikes with almost no Social Security COLA. While the base rate for Part B was $134 a month in 2017, most enrollees paid less ($109, on average) to keep their Social Security benefits from decreasing.
In 2018, the standard Part B premium stayed at $134, but the Social Security COLA was 2 percent, reflecting a rise in consumer prices. If you were among that 70 percent mentioned above, some or all of your cost-of-living increase went to Medicare to get you closer to paying the full premium.
As inflation increases this will become even more important to deal with.
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