Because I have Medicare coverage, I received in the mail, my copy of “Medicare & You, 2021.” Feel free to read it by clicking the link.
Though it is a huge book, about 140 pages long, describing many Medicare rules and coverages, it is not comprehensive. Medicare rules are complex, and there is much more a person needs to know.
For instance, individual states have separate rules, so many questions need to be answered by individual state representatives. And all the costs must be found elsewhere.
There may be three people on earth who have read and understand all the Medicare laws — or maybe not even three.
Here is Medicare’s brief summary:
To Qualify For Medicare:
If you’re already getting benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), you’ll automatically get Part A and Part B starting
the first day of the month you turn 65.
If you’re under 65 and have a disability, you’ll automatically get Part A and Part B after you get disability benefits from Social Security or certain disability benefits from the RRB for 24 months.
If you live in Puerto Rico, you don’t automatically get Part B. You must sign up for it.
If you have ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease), you’ll get Part A and Part B automatically the month your Social
Security disability benefits begin.
If you don’t want Part B, let us know before the coverage start date on your Medicare card. If you do nothing, you’ll keep Part B and will have to pay Part B premiums through your Social Security benefits. If you choose not to keep Part B but decide you want it later, you may have to wait to enroll and pay a penalty for as long as you have Part B
And this doesn’t even touch on the ten (!) different “Medigap” plans that cover some of what original Medicare doesn’t. The descriptions of these ten plans begin on page 71.
And then there are the numerous Medicare Part D (prescription drugs) plans. We won’t even get into the convoluted, complex rules, and various coverage alternatives described on pp 75-85.
Another of the big problems with the Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medigap, and Part D program is: You cannot know which plan is best for you.
The reason: You don’t know what your health situation will be in the coming months and years. You are forced to guess. So if you choose a plan that doesn’t cover your future misfortune, you’re out of luck.
Further, if you have a serious condition, and wish to change Medigap plans, you may not be able to find one that will accept you.
There are a great many limitations on who and what the various Medicare plans will cover, and none of it is free. You supposedly pay for it as part of your payroll taxes. We say “supposedly,” because every penny you pay in any federal taxes — payroll, income, etc. — every penny is destroyed upon receipt.
So you pay needlessly for incomplete, complex plans. Additionally, Medigap and Part D require separate, out-of-pocket premiums.
In short, unless you are a rocket scientist who also can see the future, you probably can’t have the plan that’s best for you.
There is a better way. In addition to eliminating the useless and regressive payroll tax, Medicare itself can and should be improved.
Here is a suggested summary of a Medicare for All plan:
To Qualify for Medicare for All:
You are a citizen of the United States, or you have lived in the United States and its territories, for at least 6 months in the previous calendar year.
Summary of the benefits:
1. You can go to any doctor or hospital that is accepted by Medicare for All, anywhere in the world.
2. You do not need a referral to see a specialist.
3. All medical services, including doctor, hospital, medically necessary services, and pharmaceutical costs (including dental, vision, and periodical examinations and treatments are covered by Medicare for All. There are no co-pays, deductibles, or out-of-pocket costs.
4. No pre-approvals are necessary.
5. There are no cost-limits.
That’s it. There is no need to determine which plan is best for you. The one plan is comprehensive. The federal government will pay for everything.
And lest you think such a plan will be too costly, remember this: The U.S. federal government is Monetarily Sovereign. That means it has the unlimited ability to pay for anything. It never can run short of dollars.
Proof of that is occurring right now, as this year the federal government has pumped an additional $4 trillion+ into the economy to help America survive the economic costs of the COVID-19 virus.
The more the federal government spends, the more economic stimulus the economy receives.
And no, federal spending never causes inflation, which always is caused by shortages, usually shortages of food or energy. Those notorious Zimbabwe and Weimar hyperinflations were caused by scarcities, not the resultant money-printing.
Then, we come to Congressional fear of insurance companies. These companies are nothing but middlemen between you and your healthcare providers.
They bribe your Congressional representatives to maintain the status quo. They add nothing; they merely pass your money along, while extracting a piece for themselves.
Original Medicare eliminated some of the insurance middlemen. It now is time to eliminate the rest.
Finally, we come to the dreaded word, “socialism.” Although the vast majority of Americans favor Medicare and its benefits, any expansion and simplification of these benefits is immediately and wrongly attacked as “socialism.”
It isn’t socialism. Socialism is government ownership and control over resources, not government spending. Medicare and Social Security are not socialism. The biggest example of socialism in America is the U.S.
military. Shall we do away with the military?
The VA hospitals, the federal highway system, NASA, the FBI and CIA are socialism. Shall we do away with them?
The “socialism” epithet is a lie when applied to Medicare for All. It is a lie designed to keep you from having the same healthcare the rich have.
The United States has one of the worst medical programs of any major nation. The reason solely is due to debt fear-mongers who falsely proclaim that federal spending is “unsustainable.”
Given the federal government’s unlimited access to dollars, a simpler, more comprehensive health-care plan, totally funded by the federal government, can and should be instituted.
The fact that America doesn’t have one is a disgrace. We have a whole suite of expensive, yet inferior, incomplete plans, foisted on us by Congressional and Presidential cowardice and ignorance.
You deserve better.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty Twitter: @rodgermitchell Search #monetarysovereignty Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
THE SOLE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT IS TO IMPROVE AND PROTECT THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE.
The most important problems in economics involve:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
- Eliminate FICA
- Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone
- Social Security for all or a reverse income tax
- Free education (including post-grad) for everyone
- Salary for attending school
- Eliminate federal taxes on business
- Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually.
- Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.
- Federal ownership of all banks
- Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9%
The Ten Steps will grow the economy and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.