For most citizens, jobs and the economy are the most serious issues facing our nation today but for seniors, it is health care and Medicare. Presidential contenders are portraying themselves as protectors of Medicare for seniors, with each of them casting a different approach to it’s survival.
President Obama has spent the last two years trying to counter the Republican claim that the new health law cuts Medicare coverage. Barack Obama states that the law slows the rate of spending increases largely at the expense of medical providers and gives seniors improved benefits such as free preventive services and lower prescription costs.
The president wants to preserve Medicare’s current set of benefits while decreasing costs through greater efficiencies. Strengthening privately managed health care plans like Medicare Advantage and Medigap are one area he wants to tighten up. One quarter of Medicare recipients are enrolled in these privately managed health care plans and the government spends roughly 7% more per beneficiary in those plans. People who buy Medigap would pay a higher price because this policy has been found to increase use of health care. The president also believes their will be more savings through increasing premiums for higher income beneficiaries, raising the price for some home health care services and increasing efforts to reduce fraudulent claims.
Health insurance abroad, for citizens living outside of the United States, will also be included in the Obamacare health care law. More and more seniors are travelling to places outside of the U.S. looking to reduce living costs such as housing, food and utilities, while maintaining a high quality of life.
The appeal for the senior vote will only intensify as the general election draws closer. Senior voters turn out in much larger numbers than younger Americans as 34% of voters are age 60 or older. Medicare will certainly play a large part in this years election.