ENEWSPF’s Associate Editor Rosemary Piser request that this piece be added as a blog entry. I strongly encourage readers to click through and read the entire piece. As Rosemary said in her email to me, "Wendell Potter from the Center for Public Integrity wrote a great article about the reality of Ryan’s plan on Medicare. Potter is a former insurance executive who really knows what he’s talking about."
Health insurance premiums rose 9 percent in 2011 to an average of $15,073 for an employer-subsidized family plan, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Over the past 10 years, premiums have increased a “whopping” (Kaiser’s word) 113 percent, much faster than wage increases and general inflation. So you can see what almost certainly would happen to Medicare beneficiaries beginning in 2022: They would have to shell out more and more money out of their own pockets every year just to cover the premiums their private insurers would charge them.
That’s bad enough, but consider this: Health insurers began implementing a strategy several years ago to move all of us, into high-deductible plans, meaning every one of us will soon be paying (if we’re not already) thousands of dollars of our own money for medical care before our insurance company will pay a dime. Insurers adopted this strategy because they have failed miserably at controlling health care costs. If you can’t control those costs, the only way you can make Wall Street-pleasing profits if you’re an insurer is to keep hiking premiums and shifting more of the cost of care to policyholders.
Under the privatized Medicare program Ryan envisions, the effect of that cost-shifting strategy would be disastrous for the growing number of senior citizens who are finding that every year they have less and less money to make ends meet.