You may be hearing about a new “study” published yesterday in Health Affairs which shows Medicare patients to have less access and cost problems than patients with private insurance. This study is a telephone survey based on participant recall of events over a year. The interviews took about 25 minutes each which makes it unlikely that their answers were based on careful checking of their personal records. In addition to the problems of accurate recall, the authors of the study completely fail to mention the fact that Medicare recipients actually pay for less than 1/3 of the costs of their medical care –even including their years of payroll taxes. The remaining 2/3rds is paid for by the very workers who are also having to pay rising private insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
I think we can reasonably conclude that private insurance patients are experiencing higher costs precisely because Medicare patients are not.
Most private insurance patients are working, All workers pay pay roll taxes to fund Medicare. Many are also paying the income taxes which pays for 2/3rds of current Medicare expenditures and 100% of Medicaid. These approx. 170 million workers are paying not only for their own medical care but also for the 45 million Medicare patients and another 48 million Medicaid patients. No wonder they are feeling stressed!!
The paper is authored by known ACA sycophants, The Commonwealth Fund.
Please do what you can to counter this deceptive “study” — LTE’s, discussions with colleagues, call-in radio.
It’s a great opportunity to instruct people on the basic flaw of the entire effort behind the ACA: focusing only on those who benefit while ignoring those who are harmed.
Medicare Beneficiaries Less Likely To Experience Cost- And Access-Related Problems Than Adults With Private Coverage
Karen Davis1,*, Kristof Stremikis2, Michelle M. Doty3 and Mark A. Zezza4
Health Aff July 2012 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.1357
The experiences of people covered by Medicare and those with private employer insurance can help inform policy debates over the federal budget deficit, Medicare’s affordability, and the expansion of private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. This article provides evidence that people with employer-sponsored coverage were more likely than Medicare beneficiaries to forgo needed care, experience access problems due to cost, encounter medical bill problems, and be less satisfied with their coverage. Within the subset of beneficiaries who are age sixty-five or older, those enrolled in the private Medicare Advantage program were less likely than those in traditional Medicare to have premiums and out-of-pocket costs exceed 10 percent of their income. But they were also more likely than those in traditional Medicare to rate their insurance poorly and to report cost-related access problems. These results suggest that policy options to shift Medicare beneficiaries into private insurance would need to be attentive to potentially negative insurance experiences, problems obtaining needed care, and difficulties paying medical bills.