Would a Medicare voucher program work?

As most people know, the Romney/Ryan ticket is proposing a Medicare “voucher” program. I use the word voucher lightly, because they have never actually used that word. The supporters of the program prefer premium assistance. If you have been watching certain news channels or negative advertisements, you may have heard this program defined a taking Medicare benefits away from the elderly.

I do not think anyone knows exactly what a voucher program would do to Medicare. The truth of the matter is that until one is put in place, we just will not know. However, it seems like a pretty decent idea to me. One thing is for sure, what we are doing currently is not working on multiple levels. It is not sustainable long term for its patients, and its rules and payment rates are not sustainable for the providers.

I like the ability to choose my insurance coverage. I do so yearly through a plan that allows me to buy up and down on certain coverage categories. The best insurance policies are not one size fits all. The voucher plan, or premium assistance as the Republicans like to call it, will likely not cover the entire cost. I understand that this is a concern.

There just is not enough money. From what I understand, the Obama/Biden ticket will get the money from continuing to cut the rates paid to providers, and from increased fraud actions. This may seem more sustainable for patients, but the Hospitals can not continue under these continued cuts and take backs. I do not necessarily want to pay anything for my Medicare, but I do want there to be high quality healthcare available for me when I need it most, during Medicare eligible years.

I do not know if the premium assistance, a.k.a. voucher, plan is the best idea or not, but let’s actually debate it’s merits instead of getting stuck on the campaign zingers of it taking Medicare away from seniors. In the end, you might find it makes sense.

4 comments Add your comment


October 13th, 2012
1:20 pm

So, you think it would take care of the elderly as well as they are taken care of now? Right now seniors have a guaranteed basic benefit, and pretty reasonable options to extend their coverage. But instead we will give them a “credit” so they can purchase their own, admittedly at a higher price than now? (and at the same time “your guys” want to repeal the Affordable Care Act so that pre-existing conditions can make your ability to get cheap insurance untenable?)

Sorry, but this is a crock. The smaller government crowd wants to insert yet another middleman (profit-seeking) between elders and health care. Anyone over the age of 40 who is not a millionaire or a member of Congress should see this for what it is–an attempt to pay off those contributors in the health insurance industry on the backs of the elderly, and not only refuse to vote the R/R ticket but to encourage young folks to stay away from these clowns as well.

Are there ways to improve the cost of Medicare? Sure. Put an end to paying for folks to go to the ER for a sore throat. End stupid “perks” like gym memberships. Negotiate for better drug prices. Continue to seek out cheaters, such as doctors who claim to see hundreds of patients a day. But don’t reward insurers with this proposal that slaps seniors in the face!


October 13th, 2012
1:21 pm

BTW, Elizabeth Richards, for whom do you litigate?

Elizabeth Richards, healthcare attorney

October 14th, 2012
8:08 pm

Catlady, thank you for your well written comment. I do not think the voucher program is the end all be all answer to the Medicare problems. However, I do think it at least deserves some unbiased consideration no matter what side you are on. Your points are well taken. There is some valid fraud in Medicare, which must be addressed. Additionally, the overuse of the emergency room by all patient populations continues to be an issue. As to your question regarding my background, please see my bio.

Colton Blank

July 4th, 2013
11:26 pm

Antibiotics are not usually prescribed for a sore throat, unless it is particularly severe or you are considered at risk of a more serious infection.-^..`

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