The Republican plan to eliminate Medicare is known, but Iowans have no idea what’s in store for them. It is a scheme to transfer health care protections for aging Americans to private companies over time.
Their plan would end Medicare as we know it for all Americans born after 1956, in ten years. This is an aggressive political calculation that pits young against old in an attempt to gain unwitting support for the plan among voters whose current Medicare benefits would not be the first to go.
Medicare would increase the eligibility to age 67 over ten years, an idea they have tried to lead us to believe is necessary because of longer life expectancies and better health outcomes.
The trouble with the Republican plan is that it replaces the current system with vouchers that they think they can sell the public as something better and cheaper than nothing. Do the math.
The proposed annual voucher payment is about $8,000, which is the per capita dollar amount projected for 65-year-olds in traditional Medicare in 2022. After that, the voucher values would change over time based on indexing to the consumer price index. Sound reasonable? Not really.
I pay my own health insurance premium and it is $9,120 per year. We expect an annual increase of at least 11 percent. Project that rate of increase for ten years and the amount would be $23,655 per year for health insurance. People born after 1956 would have to make up the gap between the voucher and actual cost. Who could afford that at age 67?
So what’s a person to do to preserve Medicare? Two words: Vote Democratic.