- By: Sanjay Pawar
Medicare is running out of money in 2026 (about 8 years) based on various sources. Social Security is not far behind, 2034. The problem needs to be fixed now. Why is it so important? Because for so many elder households that is the only means they can survive in today’s world.
I do not want to politicize this…..and it already has been. Politicizing only muddies the waters and no one can see things clearly to solve the problem. I think the problem needs to be talked about more in public, amongst people like you and I.
Here are my thoughts:
1) Current health insurance system benefits private health insurance companies. It is almost a perfect business. Let me explain, a young family of 3 or 4 will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in premiums to a private health insurance company, over a period of 30-40 years until age 65. During that time, barring a catastrophe, their claim rate is low because they are young and healthy.
When the family turns 65, they are passed on to Medicare. The private health insurance company that received hundreds of thousands of dollars in premiums walks away. That to me is such a waste of resources.
2) I would rather pay my premiums to Medicare during my younger years (before I turn 65). I know what that will do is allow Medicare to build up its reserves because ultimately they will be paying out more for my claims (which arguably would be higher in my older age).
3) I am not saying that I need subsidized rates from Medicare. I can continue to pay the same amount that I am paying to private health insurance companies today. But at least, I know that the amount will help Medicare down the road to pay my claims. So the premium dollars don’t evaporate away after age 65.
4) I am not saying single payer system either. Just that Medicare Health Insurance should be an option for people younger than 65. Medicare can compete with Private Health Insurance companies in the marketplace for under 65 health insurance. (I am sure private health insurance would not want to compete with Medicare at its premium rates, in the over 65 market).
5) Medicare has the systems and infrastructure to administer and process health insurance benefits. Why not allow them to build up their coffers with premiums from younger people because they are the ones who pay for the same people when they turn 65?
6) I have heard the argument that people do not want government in their healthcare. But guess what? Government is in your health care when you turn 65. At least, this way they can make sure that they keep the system, that is going to pay for their healthcare needs, solvent. How does that not make sense?
7) Of course, this reform needs to also make sure that the government has no access to Medicare and Social Security funds! Otherwise the system will never work. In fact no system will ever work.
I like what Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet and Jamie Dimon are doing. It is step in the right direction to radically change the current system and question everything. Also the current conversation about rebates to pharmaceutical intermediaries and the consequent waste in the system due to middlemen making undue profits, is another way of questioning and changing the broken system.
Finally, I am writing this piece because there is a need for radical thinking and sweeping changes for the future of Medicare and everyone (including you and I) that depend on it!
Thank you for your time.