Medicare Part A — the fund that pays hospitals and nursing homes — is running out of money. A mere seven years from now, it will no longer have enough to pay providers’ bills in full. The Medicare trustees sounded the alarm in June, urging Congress to act “as soon as possible” to protect people “already dependent” on the program.
The Democrats running for president are proposing to expand Medicare to millions of younger people or even to the entire population through Medicare For All. Never mind Medicare’s insolvency. That’s like a family that can’t pay its mortgage out shopping for a mega-mansion.
Amazingly, in four national debates so far, not one moderator has asked the presidential candidates how they would secure Medicare’s finances and keep the promise the nation has made to seniors. As if 65-and-overs don’t count.
Medicare Part A is funded through a payroll tax paid by employers and employees. As soon as the tax is collected, it’s spent. Today’s workers and employers fund health care for today’s seniors. The trouble is, there are too many boomers retiring, compared with the number of workers paying the tab. Shoring up the program will require either curbing benefit costs, hiking the payroll tax or inching up the eligibility age to slow enrollment growth.
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and other backers of Medicare For All are making big promises with no way to pay for them. Sanders has proposed several tax hikes, but altogether, they wouldn’t foot the bill for even half the estimated cost of his program. It’s make-believe math.
There is nothing make-believe about Medicare Part A’s impending insolvency. Some 61 million seniors depend on Medicare and have no other means of paying their hospital bills. Millions more will become dependent in the next six years. For White House contenders to ignore this crisis, which will have to be solved during the next presidential term, is a slap in the face to seniors counting on this entitlement.
The content for this blog was taken from a New York Post article dated August 6, 2019, written by Beth McCaughey.