Thursday, April 28, 2011

Social Security

<b>What is Social Security?</b>

Social security is a financial safety net for Americans.   Whether or not you can get anything is highly reliant on the details of the situation.

<b>When did Social Security Begin?</b>
Social Security began in 1935.

<b>How is it funded?</b>
Tax dollars!  Like most of these Government run programs, your tax dollars are what funds the meat of this stuff.  As you cut taxes, you lose benefits - or maybe you could just tax those who are way better off . . .

<b>Who is eligible?</b>

It is used for retirement benefits, the disabled, a dependent who's guardian is on social security, a widow/widower, or the child of someone who died.

<b>More Details</b>
As you can probably expect, the social security benefits of today aren't that awesome, unless you are really in need.  Today, over 1 out of every 6 Americans uses social security benefits in some way (I know, socialism is just such a killer!)

<b>Why is controversial?</b>

In short, there isn't enough money.  Social security, like its brothers in medicaid and medicare, soaks up a TON of money.  The biggest controversy sorrounding this is actually something that a lot of people won't ever find themselves bothered with - the privatization of funding.  If a big company is forced to pay more taxes to supply for social security, we won't directly feel it, but it always trickles down.

After all, when the gas prices go up, it's because the gas companies might not make as much money from the middle east - we always feel the squeeze in one way or another.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


What is Medicaid?

Basically, Medicaid is a program that helps fund health insurance for people who are very poor. It is run state by state, and as a result varies from state to state. Medicaid is becoming more and more like Medicare, because of the increased portion of its money being spent on sending elderly people to nursing homes.

When did Medicaid begin?

Medicaid began in 1965.

How is it funded?

Medicaid is funded by both state and federal budgets, IE your tax money. This makes it unique in the fact that it draws money from multiple sources. This also means your state has some control on the topic. The main difference is Medicaid gets funding from both state and federal governments, while Medicare just gets Federal money.

Who is eligible?

It primarily targets: low income people, disabled people, and aliens (do I even need a controversial section now? =P)

More details

Like Medicare, Medicade is also able to cater to your individual insurance plans in order to provide enhanced care.  But on second thought, if you can afford private health care, do you really need Medicaid? =)

Why is it controversial?

-Medicaid supports illegal aliens and provides health care for them. This is quite infuriating to many people, as you might imagine.

-Medicaid often provides low quality or shoddy assistance - better than nothing, right? However, Medicaid is also quite abused.

-Medicaid does not have the insane spending problems that Medicare has, but it is still a bit bothersome, and funding always seems to be an issue.


What is Medicare?

Bluntly stated - it is nationalized health insurance for people that are 65 or older. This sounds like a pretty good idea since we all know that old people have the most medical problems. It also pays for some of a physician's training

When did Medicare begin?

Medicare was signed in by President Lyndon B Johnson in 1965. Johnson chose to make former president Harry Truman the first beneficiary of the program.

How is it funded?

From what I understand, Medicare is funded through our paychecks. Each paycheck we receive is deducted by 1.45%, and an additional 1.45% is taken out of our employer's pocket.

Who is eligible?

Like I said above, you must be at least 65. You also must have been in the USA for at least five years. In the event that you are disabled, you can apply before you are 65.

More details...

Medicare is divided into four different parts: A, B, C and D.

A Covers your hospital bills.
B Covers your medical bills
C Covers alternative methods you might use to obtain A, B or D benefits. This means that if you already have health insurance, you can use this instead (It's probably higher quality to go with private insurance over public insurance.) Don't ask me why they didn't make this part D...
D Covers your prescription bills.

It is very important to understand that Medicare does NOT pay for all your bills, you are going to get charged, be sure of that! Just like a normal insurance plan, they have premiums and other fancy insurance terms that I'll explain in another post one day.

Why is it Controversial?

Medicare is controversial because the cost to maintain it doubles every four years. Have you ever heard the story of the wise man and the king? The wise man said that he would perform some service for the king, if the king gave him 1 grain of rice, but the condition was that he doubled how much he gave him every day. Well, 30 days later and...(let me whip out my calculator...) The king was giving him like 537000000 grains of rice per day. The next day, that would double.

Needless to say the King started crying, had to go to therapy etc...And this is exactly what the US government is worried about. They are worried that they are going to end up giving away half the USA in 20 more years in order to supplement medicare. In 2008 alone, we spent like 400 billion dollars on the thing.  And yes, I say 'we', since the employed citizens of America are paying for it.

People are just afraid that we are dumping huge sums of money to people that MAY have only been here for five years. It suffers a lot of criticism for this reason, and there are tons of people who shout 'socialism!'

Well, with any hope, I've offered at least some insight on this topic so the next time you're at a cocktail party, instead of flashing a toothy grin to reveal your hillbilly teeth, you can mention how pricey medicare is getting!