Sunday, October 26, 2014
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 

Lost & Found

Found: Calico cat, female, white, orange, and black, on CR 352, La Vernia. 210-667-1052.

VideoFound Puppy - long haired dachshund found on Old Corpus Christi Rd several weeks ago. I have posted his picture everywhere, to no avail. Please help! 210-355-1594 call or text!
Lost: Diamond set in gold mounting prongs, fell off my wife's wedding ring, in Floresville, reward offered. 210-867-1319.
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

We are looking for part time energetic team members for growing gas station outside of LaVernia. Duties to include cashier, food prep, stocking (must be able to lift 45 lbs). Must be able to work days, nights and weekends as schedule will vary. Please contact Cynthia at 87ih@aiemail.net or apply in person at 87 Ice House, 6517 US Highway 87, Sutherland Springs,
Pleasanton Title Company seeks experienced Closer/Escrow Officer, salary based on experience. Call 830-569-5169 (Dorothy) or email resume to Dorothy@reliabletitlecompany.com.
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos





Video Vault ›

Commentaries


A Blueprint for Medicare Reform




E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story

Disclaimer:
The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
May 4, 2012 | 3077 views | 1 comment

By Douglas Schoen

Medicare, which according to a new assessment will go bankrupt by 2024, is in dire need of reform. But there are right ways and wrong ways to go about it. The right reform would save money while giving seniors better access to care.

Between 1991 and 2009, Medicare grew at an annual rate of 8 percent. In 2010, it cost the country an eye-popping $450 billion. We can't afford this for long. In the next 75 years, Medicare will face unfunded liabilities approaching $36 trillion.

This is especially daunting because Americans are protective of the program. Seventy percent - including 53 percent of Republicans - would like to see it remain the way it is, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

The hard truth is that that's impossible. Both Republicans and Democrats recognize the need for change. Unfortunately, their proposals have come up short.

Rep. Paul Ryan's plan, which passed the House this month, has many flaws. But it also has elements worth considering.

The Wisconsin Republican has proposed an exchange in which seniors choose among competing plans. It would give seniors a set level of support based on the cost of plans where they live, guaranteed to cover insurance at current levels. Those who opt for cheaper plans could pocket the savings. A recent American Enterprise Institute study found that competitive bidding of this kind could save $339 billion over 10 years without raising taxes or sacrificing benefits.

But many doubt that seniors would have enough guidance to choose wisely and that competitive forces would keep out-of-pocket expenses low. Plus, Ryan's plan doesn't even begin to balance the budget in its first decade. Indeed, it would likely keep seniors with the most serious health conditions in traditional Medicare, putting additional financial pressures on an already-overburdened system.

The main cost-control element in President Obama's healthcare law is also problematic. The law established the Independent Payment Advisory Board, an all-powerful panel charged with keeping a lid on costs. Beginning in 2014, it will recommend cuts whenever Medicare is projected to exceed preset spending levels. Its recommendations can be overridden only by a two-thirds vote of Congress or by a law imposing cuts of equal value, making them all but equivalent to law.

Worse, the board has limited options. It can't adjust Medicare premiums, cost-sharing, or eligibility. What it can do is reduce reimbursement of healthcare providers.

Lower reimbursement rates could devastate the 44 million Americans who rely on Medicare by spurring an exodus of physicians from the program. Already, the American Academy of Family Physicians reports that more than 12 percent of its doctors no longer accept Medicare.

Any major changes in Medicare should be debated and decided by elected officials. A transparent discussion of the options would help Americans understand the trade-offs.

For example, lawmakers could consider raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67, which would save $124 billion over 10 years. Increasing beneficiaries' share of costs from 25 percent to 35 percent would save $241 billion. Gradually limiting benefits for high-income enrollees - an idea proposed by Obama and backed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission - could save another $20 billion.

Lawmakers should also look at the parts of Medicare that work - in particular, the prescription drug benefit, known as Part D. In Part D, private insurers vie for seniors' business, competing on price and choice. Thanks to this competition, it has become the country's most successful and cost-effective entitlement program.

In important ways, this approach isn't very different from Ryan's plan. Asked if the Part D model could be extended to the rest of Medicare, the respected chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said, "Obviously, it would represent a large change from the status quo, but I think it could work."

Lawmakers need to address concerns about Ryan's proposal. A plan that squeezes or bewilders seniors isn't the answer. But neither is the unaccountable, inflexible panel created by the healthcare law.

Douglas Schoen is a political strategist and the author of "Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What it Means for 2012 and Beyond" (Rowman & Littlefield).
 
« Previous Blog Entry (May 2, 2012)
 


Your Opinions and Comments
 
Elaine K.  
Floresville  
May 4, 2012 11:37am
 
 
New post.
 

Share your comment or opinion on this story!


You must be logged in to post comments:



Other Commentaries
Commentaries
Commentaries page govtrack.us
Commentaries who represents me?
Wilson's Auto ChooserAllstate & McBride RealtyDrama KidsSacred Heart SchoolHeavenly Touch homeTriple R DC ExpertsBlue Moon Karaoke & DJChester WilsonVoncille Bielefeld home

  Copyright © 2007-2014 Wilson County News. All rights reserved. Web development by Drewa Designs.