Governor Mitt Romney hasn’t provided many details about how he will keep his promise to cut Medicare spending and prevent changes in coverage over the next 10 years. However, the one detail Romney has given, that he will repeal the Affordable Care Act, lets me know that he can’t keep his promise that my mom and other seniors currently relying on Medicare will not be immediately affected.
To repeal ObamaCare , as many people call the Affordable Care Act, means that my mom and other seniors will automatically pay more for prescription drugs because ObamaCare eliminated the so called “donut hole” that required seniors to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs until they met a certain out-of-pocket limit. For example, prior to ObamaCare, an insurer might pay the first $1,500 of a policyholder’s prescription drug costs. After that amount was met, the policy might require the senior to pay the next $2,000 in prescription drug costs before the insurer resumes payment towards any more prescriptions in a plan year.
But that’s not what scares me the most? Whether you like ObamaCare or not, if Romney succeeds in repealing the law, Medicare will go broke in 2016 without any clear way to fund the Medicare trust. That’s seven years before Romney says my mom and other Medicare eligible seniors will see any changes to their coverage. How will mom get her insulin, other medications and tests paid for then?
But that’s not all. Medicare could be bankrupt even sooner if Romney succeeds lowered taxes beyond what is allowed by the so called Bush tax cuts. Medicare is supported by payroll taxes, but if Romney lowers taxes further, the Medicare Trust could lose even more funds if the Medicare tax rate is also lowered. Medicare most certainly will lose revenue if ObamaCare is repealed because repealing the law will eliminate the new Medicare tax on investment income that was included in the law to recoup money lost after top level corporate executives and investment portfolio managers started taking the bulk of their everyday earnings through stock payouts and dividends to avoid the Medicare tax and pay a lower tax rate.
I’m all for cutting spending, but Romney’s signature Medicare proposal is not a sound plan to protect seniors who need Medicare now. Unless Romney plans to borrow to fund Medicare, he cannot guarantee senior citizens that his proposals will generate the funding Medicare needs to remain viable. That not only puts senior citizens at risks immediately, it jeopardizes the viability of health care providers and middle class families trying to help care for their elderly loved ones.
Don’t be fooled by vague promises. If you do, you’ll pay for it sooner than you expect and in ways you can’t imagine.
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