I am intrigued by and actually support the concept of Medicare For All, as put forth by many Democrat members of Congress. However, I’m curious as to exactly how this noble concept would be paid for—not by the federal government, but by the new beneficiaries, many of whom would be low-income.
Specifically, I attempted a comparison of my family’s past and present costs of Medicare to those of a hypothetical three-person household, particularly one living at or below the poverty level, which is $20,420. I considered this hypothetical family to have one member who works full-time, one who works part-time, and the third a dependent, all covered by Medicare For All, per my experience with the costs associated with Medicare.
At the time my wife and I started collecting our “earned” Social Security and Medicare benefits, after both having worked for more than four decades, I received a notice from the Social Security Administration summarizing our contributions to both programs, which I vaguely recall being about $400,000 and $125,000, respectively. For Medicare, $125,000 represented “paid-in equity.”
This begs the question: “How and to what extent will the recipients of the new entitlement be required to make contributions prior to collecting benefits, which took us 40 years to amass?” If eligibility is immediate, will the equity contributions that were mandates for us become “pay-as-you-go,” or be reduced or forgiven altogether for the new beneficiaries?
That aside, the monthly cost of Medicare Parts A and B for 2019 is $135.50, or $1,626.00 per year, per person. Accordingly, coverage for a three-person household would be $4,878.00 per year—disregarding any possible higher costs that could stem from any prior work requirements. So my second question about Medicare For All is, “Will the new beneficiaries be required to pay these same costs as us current enrollees?” Or will they be reduced or forgiven?
Since Medicare Part B pays only about 80 percent of eligible health costs, it is prudent to have supplemental insurance to cover the 20 percent. These plans are provided by private insurers, but the elements of the various supplemental plans are the same, with the only difference being their cost.
For the purpose here, without getting into the specifics of the different plans, just assume that each insured person pays the $185 annual deductible then, say, $100 per month for the supplemental coverage. This means supplemental coverage for a three-person household would be $4,155.00 per year.
So another of my questions about Medicare For All is, “If new beneficiaries do not obtain supplemental insurance, and fail or are unable to pay the 20 percent not covered by Medicare, what happens?” Will these outstanding costs simply be forgiven?
Lastly, while the necessity of obtaining Medicare Part D coverage for prescription meds is arguable, based on the age and general health of each household member, drug costs for a three-person household could be as high as $3,000 per year, not including co-pays. For our purpose here, assume that only the head-of-household obtains coverage and pays $1,000 per year, not including any co-pays.
Not including any contributions that might be required prior to receiving benefits, the annual cost of Medicare For All for a three-person household would be $10,921 per year: $4,878 for Part B coverage; $4,155 for supplemental coverage; $1,000 for prescription drug coverage; and $888 for the 1.45 percent payroll deduction. This represents 54 percent of the $20,420 annual income earned by a poverty-level three-person household, leaving such households just $9,500.00 of disposable income on which to live.
C’mon, Dems. Get real! A three-person household at the poverty level can’t afford Medicare. Don’t continue to deceive us by calling your proposal Medicare For All, when what you’re really pushing is Medicaid For All!