A scene from the 1973 apocalyptic horror film, “Soylent Green.” Source: Black Hole Reviews

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

There’s been a lot of talk about Medicare over the past several weeks, and the overall grim news about its financial solvency is true. No plan to make reforms to it will affect anyone who is presently collecting, or who is more than 55 years-old. We all know, however, that something has to be done. I tell my in-laws, who are in their 80s, that if they are still on Medicare in 2022, that we are going to institute a ‘Soylent Green’ program ( a 1973 movie, which solved a food shortage by ‘recycling’ older people into food.)

One plan is to raise the eligibility age from 65 to 67. According to one poll, 52 percent are in favor of the increase, whereas 48 percent are not.

Now that people are living longer, and starting second careers when retiring from the first, they have access to employer-sponsored medical insurance, so public support is not required. Others say that raising the age would be unfair to the poor, and would increase the numbers of who could not afford insurance, and would cost the taxpayer more in the long-run.

Here Are Some Thoughts:

  • Medicare was supposed to be a ‘safety-net’ only and, in fact, the eligibility age should be based upon the average life expectancy, which is now closer to 75 or 80.
  • Restrict Medicare to only US citizens, and only to those who have worked 15 or 20 years in the U.S. and paid into the system. Those who are here, but who chose not to become citizens, should not be entitled to this benefit. The law allowing only a five-year residency should be changed.
  • Expand the program to younger people by allowing them to buy-in. This will increase the healthier participants, and add much-needed revenue.
  • Privatize Medicare to allow insurance companies to bid on coverage. There would be a basic basket to which additional coverage could be added, such as long-term care, home care, annual checkups and flu shots, etc.
  • Offer citizens a rebate if they buy their own insurance — for example, 50 percent up to a maximum.
  • Allow all Americans the same insurance coverage as members of Congress and other federal employees, retirees and their families, which includes about 300 different private health care plans, including five government-wide, fee-for-service plans plus various HMOs, and high-deductible and tax-advantaged plans. And no subsidies for the Congressmen (Blue Cross, $1,327/month of which they pay only $430.)
  • Delay benefits and increase co-pays for the first five years, and make Medicare a means test.
  • Adjust the Medicare premium annually based upon the prior year, or second prior year, cost.

What do you think?

Have a good week.

Quip: How did Congress get its name? According to the Urban Dictionary, a Baboon is the loudest, most dangerous, most obnoxious, most viciously aggressive and least intelligent of all primates. And what is the proper collective noun for a group of baboons? Believe it or not… a Congress!

Joseph Reisman, of Joseph S. Reisman & Associates, has been serving tax prep and business accounting expertise from his Coney Island Avenue office for more than 25 years. Check out the firm’s website.

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  • leo

    You did not mention medicaid which is a bigger problem then medicare.
    I would make medicaid subject to sitizenship and at least 40 quarters employment. Same for SSDI .And by the way yesterday was 39 years since my arrival to this great country

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

       SSDI does have employment requirements which increase with age.

      • Lgecht

        Sorry I stand corrected , Supplemental Security.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

          The problem with SSI is that it became a replacement for what we commonly called welfare. There are legitimate reasons that some people cannot work. There are others that should not have been allowed into that system. But when millions of Americans had their financial support withdrawn in the late 90s it created a huge hole. The solution was not an acceptable one, for it put a serious drain on Social Security’s resources.

  • Kibbles

    So stay at home moms like me should never get Medicare. And my husband, a blue collar worker, who has a dangerous, backbreaking job, should go without. Not everyone sits behind a desk all day.

  • levp

    The answer: universal single-payer national health care system.
    Eliminates the need for Medicare, Medicaid and VA.  Solves the problem of millions of uninsured citizen.

  • Whwsailboat

    Medicare started because the private insurance market place failed to provide affordable coverage for people over 65. What has changed?  

  • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

    getting to the point where any solution is better than no solution. 

      No matter what system you have, if people abuse it, there’s no solution. Give you an example. i mentioned how I fell on the boardwalk, hurting my rib, and a few scrapes, back in July.

       Advice I got:  you should have gone right to the emergency room; should have gotten a tetanus shot; should have gone to the hospital immediately; should have gone to the doctor who should have recommended an MRI, CAT scan, and every test known to mankind.

       What I did: I saved the health system more than TEN THOUSAND dollars I figure by picking myself up and continuing my run. I cleaned up the scrapes, and kept an eye on my rib, which took awhile to heal (due to being 56 years old undoubtedly). I consider myself very patriotic for keeping my personal use of the system down. I go quarterly to the doctor due to hypertension, and these preventative visits also help keep costs down.

       If everybody is going to run to the hospital for every sneeze and get expensive tests, all for free, I’m wondering WHAT kind of system one thinks is going to succeed. None of the suggestions in the article are going to work.

       By the way, if you read Health magazines, (Men’s Health, occasionally), you’ll see that  the medical profession is very much turning away from this American concept of covering every possibility of everything by over-doctoring (for lack of a better word) and sending patients for all sorts of unnecessary tests. This will help the system too.

    • http://kibblesbits.wordpress.com/ Ann

      If people have insurance, they can do those quarterly visits. I’m self pay, went to ‘convenient care’ at the local hospital, they decided it was better to put me in the ER, so now I have a four figure medical bill for bronchitis and a UTI.  Imagine if I had health insurance and could have gone to a regular doctor instead! Quite a few doctors do NOT take self paying patients. I HAD to go to the convenient care clinic (which is 90 a visit plus tests, which is fine with me).

      • bagels

        I thought doctors would love self paying patients since they can get the full amount for the office visit instead of the reduced amount that insurance companies pay them. There’s also less paper work to deal with.

  • John17

    Oboma Care will just make this worse. I have no problem. We needed health care reform and liar Obama promised us it. What we got was the biggest expansion on medicaid. He increased the number of people eligible and taxed people who currently get insurance from there employer to do it. REAL health care reform would go after the extra unneeded costs.THE BIGGEST COST IS ALL THE INSURANCE  doctors need to have to ward off fake lawsuits. This insurance required doctors to do extra tests to make sure they have a tight defense in court. Most of these tests are not really needed. IF a doctor looks down your throat and see’s it is inflamed, you probably have strep throat. He does the test to cover his tail. OBAMA AND HIS LIAR NEED TO GO. Romney has been a success everywhere he has gone and I think we need to give him a chance. Obama lies and then blames others. He is a card carrying socialist. Socialism always ends up with the elderly holding the bag when promised benefits needs to be slashed because the money is not there(and never really was) Look over at greece and the former soviet union. Obama is borrowing trillions to pay for Obamacare 

    • levp

      Homework for you: compare Romneycare and Obamacare.  Discuss.

    • levp

      PSA: If your throat is inflamed, do NOT go to Doctor John17 – see a real physician!

      “How is strep throat diagnosed?
      Your doctor will do a physical exam, ask you about your symptoms and past health, and do a rapid strep test to diagnose strep throat. Sometimes another test, called a throat culture, is also needed.
      If the rapid strep test says that you don’t have strep (the test is negative) but your symptoms suggest that you do, your doctor may want to do a throat culture to be sure. This is because rapid strep tests are not always accurate. To do a throat culture, the doctor will swab a sample of cells from the back of your throat. The sample will go into a special cup (culture) where the strep bacteria can grow over time. If strep bacteria grow, the doctor knows that you have strep.
      If the rapid strep test is positive and says that you do have strep, there’s no need to do the throat culture.”
      http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/tc/strep-throat-topic-overview

      • http://www.flickr.com/knightmare6 Knightmare6

        Woah! Let’s not bring facts into this now…