1. Should Medicare be turned into a voucher program?
Medicare should not be turned into a voucher program. Reasons the Department of Health and Human Services would disagree with a voucher program are that private insurance would be more expensive, it would delay care for some beneficiaries, and that Medicare will help reduce health care costs. This program should remain unchanged to continue to help seniors receive more affordable care. Elderly people are a vulnerable population that needs to be covered and their health insurance coverage needs to be taken care of in a structured manner to avoid confusion. This stance on opposing a Medicare voucher program is supported by the mission of the Department of Health and Human Services. They strive to provide health care to everyone, “especially for those who are least able to help themselves,” which would include seniors.
It would be unfair to make seniors fend for themselves in the private market. In many cases, an advocate would be needed if they do not have family or someone willing to take the responsibility to help them find the right health insurance plan. Some may argue for vouchers because there is low acceptance of Medicare patients by providers. While there are issues with provider acceptance, private insurance is generally more expensive. Private insurance companies are also worse with bargaining when pricing increases. This means that consumer costs in the private market are more variable and unpredictable than under Medicare. In addition, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working to close the doughnut hole in Medicare Part D. Flooding the private market with more consumers would perpetuate, or even increase, the gap which would lead to higher out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs. Additionally, under the ACA insurance companies cannot deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. While this may be the law, there are tricks companies on the private market can use to select healthier clients. This evasion would lead to the unaccepted seniors having to pay more for a different private insurance plan or having higher out-of-pocket costs for their health care in a voucher program.
Some may argue that there needs to be a cap on the amount a senior can spend to help reduce health care costs. Another debate would arise about whose responsibility it is to determine this cap. It would be difficult to settle on a pre-determined amount and would increase out-of-pocket expense for Medicare beneficiaries when they spend their voucher. It can be argued that having a cap on the amount a senior can spend would limit unnecessary medical care. In general, health care costs for any person are unpredictable. While there is abuse of the medical system, a voucher program would not completely solve this problem and would cause more expensive procedures needed if beneficiaries avoid care to stay within their voucher budget. A voucher program would delay or prevent a person from receiving care if...