Future of Medicare Up for Debate

Workers approaching retirement — and many current retirees — should plan to sock away more money for future health care costs.

My Comment: This article appeared five months ago, long before the curent matter before the Supreme Court took center stage. I’m holding my breath about what those folks on the bench are going to do about the health outcomes my children and grandchildren are going to face. Its a nail biter and it comes down to one or two, non-elected people appointed to the Supreme Court.

I spent time the other day with a long time friend who argued passionately that the Supreme Court should overturn the whole thing. After all, she said, why should she be subject to a 3% federal sales tax on the proceeds from the sale of their house? As a financial advisor, this was news to me so I Googled it. The first item was a detailed report that there is a 3.8% excise tax on profits from the sale of a house where the profit exceeds $500,000 and the seller and her spouse have earnings in excess of $250,000.

I asked her if she minded that her children and grandchildren would have to continue to pay more for their health insurance so someone in the top 2% of wage earners could avoid paying $3800 of additional tax when they sold their house and had a $600,000 profit. She had no answer. Personally, I’d rather everyone contribute something for their health insurance instead of me having to pay for mine and for someone else I’ve never met.

By Susan B. Garland, Editor, Kiplinger’s Retirement Report

Used to be, it was politically dangerous to try to tinker with Medicare. Former Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt lost the support of key Democrats in his bid for the 1988 presidential nomination when he talked about means-testing Medicare and other entitlements. And the 1988 Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act, which would have significantly expanded coverage, was repealed soon after passage. The reason: Terrified lawmakers capitulated to furious higher-income seniors who were to be charged higher premiums than other beneficiaries.

Lawmakers and politicians don’t seem quite as scared these days. Sure, seniors may still be shouting “Don’t Touch My Medicare!” at town hall meetings. But as the federal budget deficit widens, the White House and congressional lawmakers in both parties are becoming bolder in calling for cutbacks in the popular health care program for the elderly. Some recommendations for Medicare cuts that would have been considered heresy a few years ago are now moving to the center of public debate.

Finish reading it HERE…