The Student News Site of Saratoga High School

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Privatizing Medicare a counter-productive plan

A government by the people, for the people, of the people? With a recent budget proposal that would eliminate the current system of Medicare, many citizens are beginning to question that fundamental tenant of the American government.

Many senior citizens nationwide already struggle with medical costs, and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s proposal in early April to privatize Medicare may actually increase their out-of-pocket expenses.

Medicare, the federal social insurance program to aid seniors and the disabled with medical costs, was started in 1965. The original Medicare plan covers 80 percent of all medical costs for its patrons. However, according to research by the Pacific Research Institute in 2009, the cost of Medicare has increased 34 percent more per patient since 1970 compared to the costs of other health care programs. The spiraling cost of the program has led legislators like Ryan to consider eliminating and privatizing it.

The U.S. debt currently stands at $14 trillion, and legislators are racing to cut federal spending. However, gutting vital social programs to eliminate federal red ink is also neither prudent nor practical. Privatizing Medicare would move Medicare into the hands of private companies that can in turn make profits, at the expense of millions of American senior citizens.

Ryan’s plan costs $20,000 annually per enrolled citizen, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). His plan, scheduled to begin in 2022, calls for the government to give income-based vouchers to citizens eligible for Medicare, which would help them to purchase private health insurance.

The voucher, estimated around $8,000 annually for the average senior citizen, is roughly the same amount that government is currently spending. Meanwhile, the people under Medicare will have to pinch together pennies to pay the estimated $12,000 difference after the government’s compensation, according to an article by the Washington Bureau.

While it is easy toProxy-Connection: keep-alive
Cache-Control: max-age=0

ee why Ryan would call for an extreme measure to cut $5.8 trillion in spending over the next decade by privatizing Medicare, it is not necessary to push the costs onto citizens who depend on the federal government for assistance. Many senior citizens spend their careers saving up for retirement. Making them dig out their money for health coverage just seems unfair.

Representative Ryan’s entire proposal depends on the Medicare plan. Otherwise, his “Plan for Prosperity” budget calls for a high amount of spending and interest repayment. Former supporters of Ryan have begun to criticize his plan.

“Old people need help with medical bills. There’s too many people under-insured right now—especially people like myself now who don’t have insurance,” one Wisconsin senior said in an Associated Press report in early April.

For some legislators, failure to adopt Ryan’s plan would necessitate higher taxes. Yet the government should be doing its best not to push costs onto the people who cannot afford them. Funding for smaller programs, such as specific community and environmental grants with less nationwide impact can be reduced, and the government should take measures to avoid excessive spending on new, large programs in the future until the deficit decreases.

Representative Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare may seem appealing, but in the long run will not save money for either the government or the American people and will only harm America’s senior citizens.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Saratoga Falcon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *