Public Policy Essay

452 WordsMar 27, 20122 Pages
Medicare and the Elderly Medicare is a federal government health insurance program created in 1965 for people age 65 and older, those with disabilities who are under the age of 65, and for people of all ages suffering with end-stage renal disease. Medicare currently covers 49 million people. The majority of people on Medicare are age 65 and older. Medicare provides coverage for inpatient hospital stays, outpatient testing, physician office visits, and preventative services. A prescription drug plan is offered by private health insurers offering Medicare Advantage Plans. Medicare Advantage Plans are health plans approved by Medicare and are offered through private health plans. Medicare regulates the private companies who offer the plans ("Medicare advantage plans," 2011). The Medicare Program is financed by general revenues 42%, payroll tax contributions 37% , beneficiary premiums 13%, and other sources ("Medicare at a," 2011). There are several policy challenges affecting Medicare. The most critical issue is developing a plan to provide coverage to an increasing population of aging Americans while keeping the program financially secure for future generations. Medicare will play a significant role in policymaker’s decisions to reduce the federal budget. Currently, Medicare comprises 14% of the federal budget. Medicare Part A, the hospital fund, will not have enough funds in the year 2019 to pay full benefits for Medicare eligible enrollees. With the increasing number of baby boomers reaching the age of 65, it is expected that between the years of 2010 and 2030 Medicare beneficiaries will increase from 46 million to 78 million Americans. Medicare System Reforms The financial outlook of the Medicare System is troubling and policymakers are facing tough challenges to ensure Medicare is available to provide benefits for current beneficiaries as well as future

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