Tuesday, April 5, 2011
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.
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!