Friday, February 22, 2008

Health Care for Seasoned Citizens

Cost of Benefits to Seniors, Especially Health Care, Skyrocketed in 2007
I receive a daily newsletter from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest in America. Above is the headline taken from USA Today.
Feb 14, 2008 "The cost of government benefits for seniors soared to a record $27,289 per senior in 2007," which is an increase of 24 percent above the rate of inflation since 2000, according to an analysis by USA Today.

The paper pointed to medical costs as the main cause of the increase, saying that "health care and nursing homes cost the government more than Social Security payments for seniors age 65 and older" for the first time last year. This rise in costs of senior benefits comes at a time when the senior population has remained constant. However, the first baby boomers will turn 65 and qualify for Medicare starting in 2011, which will cause a spike in the number of seniors.

The USA Today analysis found that "Medicare experienced the most explosive growth from 2000 to 2007," with the Medicare prescription-drug benefit accounting for a quarter of the increase in Medicare costs. It also found that 35 percent of the federal budget goes to senior benefit costs, up from 32 percent in 2004. (Cauchon,
USA Today, 2/14/08)

Social Security will go broke in 2011 and Medicare-Medicaid is costing the Federal Government much, much more than it can afford. In that kind of a crisis atmosphere, one would think that candidates for President would be discussing their plans for reducing costs and saving the safety network for our nation. Not so!!!

In the debate last night I did not hear one rational thought about the budget crisis in any of these programs. There was not one question about them from a panel obsessed with words.

Both Obama and Clinton promised huge new free expenditures for "Universal Health Care" but neither said how to pay for it. We are broke today so we promise gigantic new entitlements tomorrow. That sure works for my family.

We must put our most creative thinking on how to resolve these issues.

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