The American Health Care Act that Congress is currently debating won't just affect the individual health insurance market and Medicaid, but Medicare as well.
The bill Congress is debating now repeals the Medicare payroll surtax on high-income earners and virtually all other tax and revenue provisions in Obamacare. While this change wouldn't be noticeable to most seniors on the program, they could potentially deplete the Medicare Trust Fund by 2025, which would then require the Congress to step in and potentially make draconian changes in order to keep the program afloat. Tens of millions of baby boomers who will be relying on Medicare for their health insurance coverage in 2025 would then be forced to take a "wait and see" approach to what happens with their coverage.
While I'm still decades away from being eligible for Medicare, I still worry about my parents who will be entering the program in a few short years. People who paid into the system for their entire lives shouldn't have to worry about whether or not they will be able to get coverage. Hopefully Congress will be able to figure this out if they are going to continue moving forward with AHCA.
I just listened to Dan Carlin (podcaster/historian) talk about the nature of our healthcare system in the U.S. on his 'Common Sense' podcast. I highly recommend checking out his latest episode called 'Unhealthy Numbers'. You can download it free on his website, or listen for free on his podcast through iTunes or an Android podcast app.
Anyways, it makes me want a universal healthcare system in this country even more. We spend more than any other country on healthcare, yet we get far less in return. What in the world is going on here? I had a similar feeling after reading Steven Brill's 'Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us'. If you are more into reading than listening, that is the best piece I have found yet to explain why our system is so in dire need of fundamental change.
I have health issues that have been "overlooked" for about 5 years, well into the obama presidency. I feel like a cash cow most of the time. Let me explain - They mostly want to do office visits and run routine tests to prevent possible issues that MAY occur in the future. They want to do colonoscopies, mammograms and paps. Their routine tests did not find anything that is actually wrong with me TODAY. I knew I was sick, so I literally had to force the issue of getting very simple tests THAT DID find something very wrong. So much for "preventative care."
What I'm finding is that these "Primary Care Physicians" are really just over-paid medical secretaries who can legally write prescriptions. But you must get a referral from them to see a doctor who actually knows something. I can't help but wonder how much money could be saved by putting NURSES in the "Primary Care" positions, since PCs do nothing more than the average advice nurse anyway. I think the doctors would be better used (and paid) as doctors.
Also, perhaps the "routine" tests that can be very expensive, might be better used more sparingly and some of them, only when indications suggest they might be useful. Seems like a lot of waste going on in the medicaid system, with minimal results for the patient...JMO