government

Urban Institute opposes Medicare shutout of younger seniors

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 18, 2013

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Reforming Medicare benefits does not need to include removing 65- and 66-year-olds from the entitlement program completely, according to a March report on Medicare and federal deficits from the Urban Institute.

In reviewing proposals in Washington to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67, the report recommended a package of policy options under this scenario that would allow seniors ages 65 and 66 to buy into Medicare. The package contains provisions that would assist low-income individuals to ensure access to coverage, but it also calls for more means testing that would increase premiums and deductibles for middle- and higher-income earners and cap out-of-pocket spending for beneficiaries. The plan would repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate formula and achieve a projected $600 billion in savings over 10 years.

“Medicare does not need to be rebuilt,” said Stephen Zuckerman, PhD, a senior fellow with the Urban Institute and co-director of its health policy center. “Budgetary savings can be achieved as long as beneficiaries, providers and general taxpayers share the costs.”

The Urban Institute framework would yield $734 billion in new revenues and savings, authors said. The plan includes a 0.5% payroll tax increase beginning in 2017 and reductions in pay to clinical laboratory services, skilled nursing homes, home health services and Medicare Advantage plans. Repealing the SGR would cost the program $138 billion.

The report, “Can Medicare Be Preserved While Reducing the Deficit? Timely Analysis of Immediate Health Policy Issues,” is available online (link).

Back to top


ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISE HERE


Featured
Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story


Read story

Goodbye

American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story


Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story


Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story


Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story


Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story


Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story


Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story