Medicare Could Play Key Role in Budget Talks
Posted at 10:02 a.m. on Oct. 18
The government shutdown and debt ceiling deal also created a conference committee to reach consensus on a budget by December 13. Kaiser Health News notes that Medicare reform will probably be a significant part of those talks and looks at a number of proposed changes to the program.
“Wealthier Beneficiaries Pay More for Medicare: Many Republicans — including Ryan — and Democrats support this… Medigap Changes: Both sides may also agree to discourage the use of ‘first-dollar’ Medicare supplemental policies. The thought is that more generous Medigap plans encourage overuse of services, but seniors rely on these plans to shield them from unanticipated costs.”
“Premium Support/Higher Eligibility Age: No bipartisan consensus here. Ryan’s fiscal 2014 budget plan includes both a gradual increase of the Medicare eligibility age (from 65 to 67) as well as a “premium support” plan that would give beneficiaries a set amount of money to select coverage… Provider Cuts: When Congress needs to reduce Medicare spending, it often lowers reimbursements to the hospitals and other providers that care for Medicare beneficiaries. “