Should Medicare Be Replaced By Subsidies?

Romney and Ryan

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are causing a stir across the nation with their ideas on Medicare.

Paul Ryan would like to replace Medicare with subsidies that seniors could use to buy private health insurance. In a television interview this past week, Mitt Romney said, "Paul Ryan and my plan for Medicare, I think, is the same, if not identical — it's probably close to identical."

It's a bold move and it could backfire if the Medicare proposal ends up causing Romney to lose the senior-heavy swing state of Florida. 

This week, we're asking our political bloggers what they think of the Romney/Ryan Medicare plan.

In the meantime, we'd like to know what you think of Paul Ryan's ideas on Medicare. Let us know in the comments.

Democrats have seized on the opportunity to attack the Romney/Ryan Medicare plan in Florida, launching a tour of the state with Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and bolstering it with a TV ad, phone banks, web videos and other media events. Since 18-percent of Florida's residents are on Medicare, it's safe to say it's a hot button issue in the state, and if Romney loses Florida, it will be very difficult for him to win the election.

Some analysts say that turning the nation's attention to Medicare is good for President Obama, since it takes attention away from the economy, which is not Obama's strong suit among voters.

In general, Florida seniors seem likely to side with Mitt Romney. All polls show him leading among seniors there. While the Medicare plan promoted by Ryan may be unpopular among some, he has softened his idea since becoming Romney's running mate. Now, he says, he'd like to give beneficiaries a choice of either staying on Medicare or using subsidies to buy private health insurance.

Seniors we talked to in Florida during our Moms Matter Road Trip were fairly satisfied with Medicare. Their main concern was that it would still be around for their children and grandchildren when they reach the age of retirement.

It will be interesting to see how the Ryan/Romney Medicare plan impacts the Florida vote.

Here's what our political bloggers have to say on the matter:

Paul Ryan Doesn't Want to Kill Medicare, Just Rough It Up a Bit

Ryan's Medicare Proposal Is Another Scam to Swindle the Elderly

Obama's Scary Medicare Plan Explained in Plain, Straight-Shooting English

Let's Give Paul Ryan's Medicare Plan a Chance

The Ryan/Romney Plan Is Bad for Seniors & Children

 

Image via monkeyz_uncle/Flickr

2012 election, mitt romney

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JAFE JAFE

I'm not going to say whether I like it or I don't. I have to save my opinion until I "really" know the plan and not from dirty and negative tv ads or whatever political spin the newscaster is trying to put on it. I want to hear Romney's plan with my own ears coming out of his mouth.


I do know what's happening right now isn't working because medicare isn't accepted by everyone and out in my rural farming community seniors have to travel 60 miles, round trip, to use it and most of them don't drive anymore. It's a huge worry for them because they've lost thier doctors too. The government is 18-22 months behind in reimbursing them and they can't make a go of it. I know both of my parents are 76 and they have taken out their own insurance at a crack of $250 a month in addition to medicare. 


You do realize don't you, that Paul Ryan is NOT running for president. Why are we talking about "his" plan?


 

Emma Graham

I work in healthcare, in a billing position. Medicare pays us only 65% of our usual fee on average. And while we can bill the remaining 35% to a secondary plan if the patient has one, we are contractually obligated to write off any balance, and not collect from the patient. It takes usually 2 months at the earliest to receive payment from Medicare, (as long as Congress has not put a hold on payment of claims bc they are too busy arguing trying to balance the budget - we did not receive ANY payments between June and November 2011 bc of this). Most procedures require a PCP referral, even if it's a same day procedure. So if a patient comes in for a regular exam, and the doctor sees something he wants to take care of right then, we still have to obtain a referral and re-schedule the patient. It is like pulling teeth to get through to an actual live person who knows what they are talking about if God forbid, you have a question about a claim. Then you are usually just bounced around from rep to rep until you get so frustrated you hang up. Or they hang up on you. So, in my humble opinion - no, it's not worth it to the Doctors to accept Medicare. Or at least not with the way it's currently handeled. But I am not sold on Ryan's proposal being any better for the patients either.

wamom223 wamom223

I agree with Jafe that we need to actually hear the plan before we know what is best.  Thank you Emma Graham for sharing some very valuable information with us.  I was on state insurance when I was pregnant and while we were thankful for the help we were shocked to find out how many doctors and pharmacy's would not take us because of the unreliability of payment from the state and they said federal government. 

Hocke... HockeyMomNJ

Emma, yes I know that to be the case. Have you had any experience with HCAHPS yet?

nonmember avatar laura

frankly I think it's a good start to begin discussing fixes. loking down the road the funding isn't there and it runs massive perpetual debts for years and will eventually crash leaving nothing. in the days of lopservice politics it's good to someone taking action and putting forth a plan(romney/ryan) and not just a high-minded narrative with no substance (obama/biden)... this all aside fromt he fact the current administration already dipped into medicare to pay for the obamacare debacle. remember when social security had trillions locked away in a lock-box? the feds raided that and now it's insolvent. wish i could run my house not worrying about what i spend!

count... countrygirl670

wamom223- I have seen providers not take some private insurances either, for the same reasons.  In fact, one large private insurer in my state (which eventually went under here) was effectively frozen out by numerous large hospital systems that refused to take it. Because when all was said and done, dealing with them was more trouble than they were worth.  All of those hospitals, by the way, continue to take Medicaid.  


JAFE- The government isn't 18-22 months behind in paying your provider.  Your provider is behind in their billing.  Or their coders are not very good.  Medicare billing is complicated and one or two girls in an little PCP office isn't going to cut it, especially if they're not quickly informed of changes and constantly being retrained.  I work for a large hospital system and we have reliably had a 90 day turnaround from Medicare for years. 

wamom223 wamom223

Countrygirl-That is the way the system should work.  If you don't get paid then drop them.  Its not that easy to drop a government program.  Also did you read what you wrote.  That is the problem with medicare it shouldn't take a shitload of people to make a claim and get paid.  All it does is cost the business money. So you work for a large hospital, great for you,  but the majority of Americans deal with doctors offices more than hospitals.  You need to take your blinders off and look at the big picture.

wamom223 wamom223

Countrygirl-That is the way the system should work.  If you don't get paid then drop them.  Its not that easy to drop a government program.  Also did you read what you wrote.  That is the problem with medicare it shouldn't take a shitload of people to make a claim and get paid.  All it does is cost the business money. So you work for a large hospital, great for you,  but the majority of Americans deal with doctors offices more than hospitals.  You need to take your blinders off and look at the big picture.

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