Medicare’s Future

Lots of us are receiving healthcare from Medicare and while Trump promised to protect it there appears to be continued pressure in the GOP congress to attack it. Here’s a piece that appeared in today’s New York Times Opinion section. Well worth a read.

The debate that the country may soon be having over Medicare is shaping up as one of the stranger political debates in a long time.

Medicare is an extremely popular program, and it mostly functions well. Its main problem — a large and long-term funding shortfall — has even become less serious lately, thanks to a slowdown in the rise of health care costs.

In the campaign, Donald Trump said he would protect Medicare. Yet many Congressional Republicans have long wanted to change the program and privatize all or part of it. One of those Congressional Republicans is Tom Price of Georgia, whom Trump has chosen to run the Department of Health and Human Services, where he will have sway over Medicare.

I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing some changes to Medicare — especially moving it toward paying for the quality of medical care and away from paying for the quantity of care, as the Obama administration has instigated. But the notion that a radical overhaul of Medicare should be one of the country’s top priorities seems bizarre. Democrats, wounded as they are right now, would no doubt be happy to have this political debate.

Our colleagues at Room for Debate preview that discussion with an overview of the substantive questions likely to come up.
The full Opinion report from The Times follows, including Janet Napolitano on young immigrants and Jeff Biggers on reason for climate hope.

David Leonhardt
Op-Ed Columnist

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