Medicare Battle During Vice Presidential Debate

Posted on: October 12th, 2012 by SamTabes No Comments

Congressman Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden fought hard last night during the first vice presidential debate.  Regardless of what side of the fence you are on, it’s easy to say that this was indeed a very heated debate with solid points made by both sides.  Both candidates brought fire to the table as they debated some of the hottest topics in America from the struggling economy, foreign policy, and of course Medicare.

The Romney-Ryan campaign has brought a lot of attention to Medicare based on their unique plan they would start in motion if Romney were to be elected President.  There are different takes on their plan, but basically Medicare as we know it would be altered and their proposal would allow Medicare beneficiaries entering the program after 2022, to receive a fixed amount of federal money to buy a private health insurance policy or use traditional Medicare.  This is very different from today’s approach, which guarantees seniors access to the government program with a set of benefits.

The Romney-Ryan ticket does not wish to do away with Medicare, but the change is so drastic that it makes many people uncomfortable.  There is an argument that the voucher system will not cover the same benefits seniors receive now, so it could end up being more expensive for Americans to carry the same set of benefits.  The value of this so-called voucher would be tied to the cheapest available plans in different areas of the US to make sure it is enough money to cover the most affordable policies.  If a senior wishes to carry a more comprehensive plan then they would pay more out-of-pocket.

This does mean that if Medicare is not one of the cheapest options then the voucher may not cover the full cost which seems counterproductive.  But it could spur competition among private health insurers, driving the cost of health insurance down as they fight for the business of seniors.  The Romney-Ryan plan has a lot more to it and it wasn’t fully discussed in yesterday’s debate, but one thing is for sure.  It’s a hot topic that will not be going away any time soon.

While cutting Medicare and Medicaid costs feels necessary to attack the nation’s deficit disaster, it’s hard to say how it will affect the millions of people who may receive less federal funding.  Seniors could immediately lose a slew of benefits along with a potential for higher out-of-pocket costs.  It’s important to understand that a driving focus of the Republican party is to bring down the nation’s spending and this is one of the easiest ways to do this.  It’s such a complicated subject, but very interesting to hear both sides debate the topic.  There are pros and cons to each side and it will be up to the American people to choose which road we will go down at this time.

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