Medicare Grows Sicker

As if the Democrats' proposed health care bill is not enough to send a person to the urgent care clinic, there is a lesser-known move that has garnered attention among those concerned about the growing entitlement burden: the House voted this week to approve a package which would eliminate the “Medicare trigger.”

The trigger was passed in 2003 as part of the Medicare Modernization Act. In simple terms, it is a “red flag” that forces Congress and the President to act if 45 percent

or more of the Medicare program's funding comes from general revenues over two consecutive years. (Medicare is also funded with payroll taxes and seniors' premium payments). Last year was the second year that Medicare's funding exceeded the 45 percent limit. Thus, President Bush was required to submit legislation to Congress to reduce Medicare spending over a seven-year period.

As I think about it, the Medicare

trigger could be compared to dieting. When I step on the scale and it tells me that I have exceeded my desired weight (for the purpose of my dignity, I won't disclose what that weight is), that information “triggers” me to deal with excess poundage by devising a plan. It may include a few more hours on the bike or fewer trips to the candy jar on my coworker's desk. But with persistence, that plan will hopefully help me to get my weight back under control. If I ignore my scale, I do so at my own peril and face possible health problems down the road, as well as a wardrobe that no longer fits.

But Congress is doing more than ignoring the trigger; they are eliminating it. Medicare currently has an unfunded liability of nearly $89 trilliion. If Medicare were human, a gastric bypass would most certainly be in order. But as it stands now, Congress will stuff it with wasteful spending and watch it grow sicker and sicker.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Jim says:

    Could it be that one of the reasons the “trigger” has been eliminated is due to the fact that the proposed socialized health care plan will siphon off funds from Medicare to help pay for the cost of this absurd plan of the Dems. Boy, talk about rationing, with the cost of Medicare going up and the proposed siphoning off of Medicare funds, how could there be anything more than rationing? I have just about come to the conclusion that the Dem party has lost it way and stumbled onto this path of socialism. But the others party has its problems too, I thinks term limits would solve a lot of problems for us all.

  2. Jim Webb says:

    I agree with your comments. I would suggest that along with term limits I would also put an age limit of 70. I know of at least one major corporation that will not allow its CEO to be older than 60! If it good for business, it surely would be good for our government.

  3. c.a.apicella says:

    I happen to be on Medicare and find that we, the seniors, are as usual the ones who are going to be sacrificed.
    After a lifetime of taxes, and obligatory medicare payments, we continue to pay monthly from our SS cheques, be they ever so small.
    I have found that over the years, I have never exceeded the money I have put in, in benefits taken, except for this year. In fact, i am wondering whether there really is any benefit to be had at all all things considered, that a good insurance policy couldn’t do better. And, I pay for my own medications-never did suscribe to that boondoggle!
    Now, that there will be no Cola and doctors will be paid LESS as of next year, how many will still feel willing and able to deal with us?
    And, this new horror coming out of the Dems. control of govt. will further decrease any help for seniors.
    WHY ARE WE BEING SACRIFICED?
    WHY DOESN’T CONGRESS WANT TO JOIN THIS ‘NEW’ SO-CALLED HEALTH CARE? DO YOU KNOW THEY VOTED THEMSELVES OUT OF IT BECAUSE IT IS SO WONDERFUL???????????????????
    Never mind, just get rid of the seniors so we can save money!
    IT IS PERFECTLY DISGUSTING HOW THIS LOT IS FORCING SOMETHING DOWN OUR THROATS AND THEN BLAMING EVERYONE ELSE BUT THEMSELVES.!
    THE FIRST THING TO DO WHICH THEY WILL NOT DO IS—–Tort reform—so doctors do not have to pay excessive fees for malpractice. This would reduce all patient fees in itself.
    But, CONGRESS loves the obscene fees lawyers can make as most of them ARE LAWYERS!!!!
    SO how unbiassed can you be?
    I am sick of the lot of them.
    VOTE THEM OUT!

  4. Sylba says:

    Well said c.a.apiella!!! Term limits would go a long way in reversing the inequities that we all face with this governing body of idiots.

    Vote them OUT!!!

  5. Sandra Krieg says:

    I am in total agreement, vote them all out! The current “regime” may have been installed by the people, but it most certainly is not for the people! The current form of government that we are experiencing would make this countries fore-fathers roll over in their graves! We are a nation built on the statutes of liberty and justice, well, they most certainly are taking liberty with defiling justice. I was once proud to call myself an American and knew where I stood, we as a country stood, lately I have no idea what we are about! One nation under God, I know which God we are under but it seems that our muslim president wants to change all of that too! I can sit back and watch all of the bail-outs that are going on, look out America, no matter what anyone tells you these days, there still is no free lunch! When it comes back to bite us, it will be devastating! So, you refinanced your home, when you lose your job, and can’t afford to pay your new mortgage, and the forclosure is definite, will an American own all of our property, or will it be United Arab States? Food for thought!