Monday, November 21, 2011

The Cost of Medicare: Not sustainable at it's current growth

Today, Medicare supports 49 million people by providing quality health care to older and disabled Americans.  Currently, it accounts for 13% of all the government's spending at $477 billion in the 2011 Fiscal Year, but is projected to grow to $864 billion, or 16% of all spending, by 2021.  This is not sustainable for the US tax payers.  According to the article, there are three main drivers driving the cost of Medicare: the spiraling cost of all health care as new technologies and treatments are developed; much greater use of medical services by the typical beneficiary; and an aging population.  The New York Times recently looked at several things that could change in order to make it a more sustainable  system for the American Tax Payers:

  • - Near Term Costs. Over the past few years, Medicare spending has actually decreased, which may be a sign of hospitals cutting excess and better spending their money.  Washington has it's eye on cutting spending now, but what will that do in the long term for those covered by Medicare?
  • -Long Term Health Savings. The government can find a way to let Medicare grow at the rate of the economy.  The article cites several things that can help do this: Higher premiums, Older ages to qualify for coverage, and a set amount of money for the beneficiaries to buy their coverage.
  • -Fee for service.  Currently, doctors are paid per service they perform.  Could paying them one grand sum for all their services cut out the services they do that are unnecessary?
  • -Benefits. Solving the current gaps in the coverage could also be a way to save on costs.  
At the the The Medicare Congress 2012, Fred Barnes Executive Editor, The Weekly Standard and Commentator, FOX News will be joining us for the keynote presentation "2012 Election Outlook – Examine Today’s Headlines to Find the Real Signals and Implications for ACA" by going beneath the headlines of the news and the current happenings in Congress to identify the possibilities for the future. As a reader of the blog, when you register to join us in February 2012 using code XP1707Blog, you receive a discount of 25% off the standard rate!

What do you think about the article's suggestions to save on costs for Medicare?  What other things could be done to help the unsustainable rise in cost of health care?

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