The many myths about Medicare

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By: NathanielCopeland
on 9th Oct,2012

has like always been the American healthcare system. The results of the poll will be hinged on this crucial subject of controversy.
The many myths about Medicare

has like always been the American healthcare system. The results of the poll will be hinged on this crucial subject of controversy. Team Romney-Ryan is responsible for creating a series of plans apparently aimed at reducing the cost of Medicare, the government sponsored insurance program for seniors.

According to the Romney-Ryan plan, the current Medicare system is going to be overhauled and converted to a voucher system doling out fixed annual benefits to qualified individuals. The idea has been met with a surge of criticism from Americans everywhere, especially seniors. The ultimate effect of the plan would end up increasing the out-of-pocket cost of Medicare by at least two folds for the next decade.

The heated debate regarding the Medicare program has culminated in a maelstrom which is being fuelled by the many myths and bits of misinformation that Americans have gathered through the years and have convinced themselves to believe in. Here is a complete breakdown of the most prevalent Medicare myths.

The myth:
Obamacare cut $700 billion funding for Medicare

The fact:
The Republican campaign, in their bid to draw attention away from Ryan's disastrous voucher plan for Medicare, twisted the truth with some scary numbers. The statement about cutting $700 billion away from Medicare is basically untrue since it tries to establish that the PPACA is designed to slash benefits.

The recently introduced health reform law does reduce $700 billion but it is spread over a decade and the cut is adjusted against the payments made to the Medicare providers. It can be easily concluded from this that the reform and the cuts leave the beneficiaries of Medicare entirely untouched. The affordable PPACA spreads the cutbacks over a decade and splits it up into $56 billion in cuts for hospitals, $415 billion for fee-for-service healthcare provider payments, $156 billion for payment in lieu of Medicare Advantage plans and $114 billion for miscellaneous items.

Instead of limiting the functionality of Medicare, the PPACA increases benefits for seniors and reduces the cost of prescription drugs to the point that over 3.6 million Medicare beneficiaries collectively saved $2.1 billion during the previous year. Moreover, under the PPACA, Medicare beneficiaries are entitled to a wider range of preventive care services like annual physician visits, cancer screenings and vaccines without incurring any out-of-pocket expenses.

The myth:
Most doctors are currently refusing to accept Medicare coverage

The fact:
There is no real substance to this notion simply because only 2.1 percent of the people covered by Medicare report any kind of trouble related to finding a willing specialist as compared to 2.3 percent in the case of people covered by private insurers. There have been reports about the growing concern of people over finding primary care physicians.

After the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) looked into the matter, it was discovered that only 2 percent of the people covered by Medicare were facing the problem just like the same percentage of people covered by private insurers.

The myth:
The spiraling cost of Medicare

The fact:
It is a fact in plain sight that Medicare costs will increase in the coming years as the number of seniors increase in sync. Even though this is true, the fact remains that the per capita growth of Medicare is below that of private health insurance carriers. The economic growth of the country as of now is almost at the same pace that Medicare expenses are growing.

According to projections, the average annual per capita spending for Medicare is slated to go up by 3.1 percent as compared to 4.9 percent in case of private health insurers. The projected growth rate also includes provisions for medical services charging more over the years as a part of the sustainable growth rate used to control Medicare spending. Moreover, the 3.1 percent cost growth rate of Medicare is also lower than the 3.7 percent projected GDP growth rate.

Medicare is still more cost efficient in the sense that they spend only 1.4 percent of every dollar to cover administrative costs whereas private health insurance carriers use 25 percent of a dollar to meet the same necessities.

The myth:
Medicare is run by the government

The fact:
Medicare is a government sponsored healthcare system. The word sponsored clearly shows that it is the government who provides the funding only but the healthcare delivery system is entirely private. Unlike Britain's National Health Services which actually delivers the care, Medicare is merely a health insurance policy (mostly for seniors) which is bankrolled by the government.

Healthcare providers like pharmacies, clinics and doctors are all private and when one of them raises a bill for someone covered by Medicare, the government takes care of it. Moreover, you have the freedom to use the healthcare provider of your choice without having to worry if the Medicare is going to cover your costs.

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