Monday, November 27, 2006

Something no candidate mentioned this election

The comptroller general of the United States -- basically, the federal government's chief accountant -- is traveling the country warning of economic disaster if something isn't done about federal spending, beginning with Medicare:
Realistically, what we hope to accomplish through the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour is ensure that any serious candidate for the presidency in 2008 will be forced to deal with the issue. The best we're going to get in the next couple of years is to slow the bleeding.

1 comment:

Tracy S. Miller said...

One of the biggest problems with Medicare is that it is age-based, not need-based. I know of many elderly who have plenty of resources, but still use Medicare because they can. When a Senior who has plenty of resources still receives money from the government, that means there is less for the truly needy. Now, all that being said, my parents are recipients of Medicare, but in their case, they have a huge need and few resources (their drug costs alone would be $800 per month without government assistance). So in their case, it works, but the key point is they NEED the assistance, whereas many don't.

I realize that need determination is fraught with potential for abuse, and that the administrative costs are higher. Still, I think a system can be worked out. Already most states administer MediCAID (unfortunate that is sounds too much like MediCARE), which is needs-based. Why not just expand it to the federal level? With computers and internet access becoming ubiquitous, it should be easier to cross check tax returns and other income-determining documents to determine need.

Here's an idea: The government issues debit cards to people based on their prior year income tax returns. Those who had $20,000 or less taxable income receive a 90% discount on all health care (including medication). Those making between $20,000 and $30,000 get an 80%, etc. I'm just making these numbers up, but you get the idea.

- Tracy S. Miller