Presidential election puts Medicare back in the spotlight
The first reason is the Baby Boomer vote. More than 72 million Baby Boomers will be 65, or Medicare reliant by 2030. In the 2008 presidential election year, there were 169 million registered voters. Based on these statistics, Baby Boomers make up a significant percentage of the voting base for the 2012 Presidential election and they’re concerned about retirement and healthcare after retirement.
After we’ve determined that an influential and large population has a vested interest in the topic of Medicare, we come upon the second reason that Medicare has become such a controversial topic and it has to do with another political hot button issue, National Healthcare Reform. National Healthcare Reform has been a countrywide issue since Obama took office in 2008. Medicare cuts, “death panels” and other sordid Medicare coverage changes have been in and out of the news over the past years. National Healthcare Reform did include some provisions to make changes to Medicare and those changes have been debated in the public forum, making Medicare a dinner-table topic in much of America.
The final reason that Medicare has taken off as a front running debate topic is because it’s always been on the table. As with other entitlements, Medicare is often a target of spending cuts. Medicare reform and restructuring has long been a topic of discussion. Medicare fraud has been running rampant for years with little to no restraints. Medicare reimbursements are low so providers have found ways to bill for higher services or bill more than once for the same services. The flaws in the Medicare system are causing providers to reconsider accepting Medicare, leaving beneficiaries to either find new providers or navigate the claim submission system on their own.
As more Baby Boomers join or become closer to joining Medicare, they want answers and solutions to these problems. This generation is going to demand changes to the system and each candidate needs to voice what they think these changes should be.
So here it is Medicare, your time to shine in the very public, primetime arena; the big question is after all of this talk, is anything really going to change?
About the Author
Alyssa Martin is a Vice President at William Gallagher Associates (WGA,) providing proactive service, effective decision-making and advanced problem-solving capabilities to a number of national clients in the mid-sized to large markets. She also works with key WGA clients to assist their employees with their individual Medicare choices as they are approaching retirement.