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The Medicare Debate


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The Medicare Debate Essay, Research Paper

The U.S. government have denied that Medicare has been going bankrupt. Although the government may say that Medicare has plenty of money it is untrue because it is a fact that Medicare will go bankrupt by the year 2001 as stated by preliminary sources. Medicare is one of the main sources of funding for those people that have no money or very small amount of money. The community service that was done for this research paper is hospital volunteering at John Muir Medical Center. The community service included various jobs that was needed to be done were, Putting items away for nurses, discharging patients, doing paper work, feeding patients, answering phones, and helping patients when they ask for assistance. The floor I worked on was Oncology (The branch of medicine that deals with tumors, including study of their development, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention). This community service has help me gain insight on the Medicare situation because I have asked multiple amount of people that work at John Muir Medical Center.There is a side to be considered about Medicare and Social Security in the government. The vice president of the United States, Al Gore, wrote in a letter stating that social security funds are not being depleted. Gore said that, “the allegations to the contrary have been circulated by certain organizations as a money-making scheme for some time.” (Gore Letter). Vice President Gore tries to show theses allegations are untrue by explaining how social security works. In this letter, Vice President Gore cleared up the allegations by writing that, “When Social Security taxes are collected, they are credited to the Social Security trust funds with government security, perhaps the safest investment in the United States.In history Medicare has experience a few problem regarding it’s funding. Problems have occurred over the history of Medicare. The major problem and most recent of Medicare is that it is going bankrupt. Medicare is another legacy of Lyndon Baines Johnson Great Society. Spending is obviously out of control. On June 5th the government announced that the Medicare Trust Fund would go broke by the year 2001(nationaldebt). In 1965 when LBJ started Health and Medicare, the Total Federal Spending for the year was $101 Billion. By the year 2000 we will spend over 4 times than amount on Health and Medicare alone, and Medicare will equal the annual spending for Defense(CNN). Under our Constitution, Defense is a specific responsibility of the Federal Government. Medicare is a step-child of our Liberal/Socialists. You might keep this in mind when we get to the point where we have to chose what we CAN do versus what we would LIKE to do. By the year 2002 Medicare will have exceeded defense spending Healthcare has been a problem for the government as well for it has added to the enormous debt the country already has. Another major problem of Medicare is that the government does not regulate Medicare enough(Medicare). Medicare affects all different aspects of different programs. For instance Medicare affects Social Security (national debt). Social Security has already exceeded Defense spending by almost double. Just like Medicare, Social Security is being abused. Abused meaning that people take advantage of it. It is different from Medicare because less people can use Social Security because it is set aside for the tax payers of this country. The mechanism is similar to depositing money in a bank. As you know, when a bank accepts a deposit. It takes that money and uses it for loans and investments in order to provide a positive return to share holders and interest-bearing accounts. The deposit is credited to an account, and as long as the account has a positive balance, the bank is obligated to honor debits to it. In the same way, the trust funds’ balances represent and have swerved as financial claims against the government-claims on which the Department of the Treasury has never defaulted….” (Gore Letter). This letter written by Al Gore shows the government side of the issue on Social Security. The government does make it’s point in describing that Social Security is not endanger of losing money or even going bankrupt. According to Al Gore he mentioned that, “Social Security represents an important commitment to the elderly which must not and will not be abandoned. I assure you that Social Security has ample funds to continue supporting the programs upon which many older Americans depend.” (Gore Letter). Vice President Gore has given a very good explanation of why Social Security will not run out of funds. The following shows the explanation that is given to the public. The dilemma is that most of the public do not want to listen to what the government has to say about an issue so they take matters into their own hands. The federal healthcare program for the elderly is a system of checks and balances where change is expected. The fact that we have something within the next year or so to ensure that nothing goes bad in the year 2001 or 2002 is expected(CNN1). But the government is not going to do that by slashing benefits. The reason for the projected bankruptcy is because Medicare is serving around 37 million people, and costs taxpayers an average of 200 billion dollars a year. Medicare and Social Security account for 34% of the current federal budget(CNN2). The percentage is expected to rise 5 percent in the next 5 years, partly because Americans are living longer now a day. Men and women are living about 6 years longer than they did in the 1960’s (CNN2). A survey was taken by CNN on the opinions of people’s healthcare plans. On an average people gave their health plan an average score of a “B” or better so people were satisfied with their health plan(CNN). The community service that I did tied into Medicare and Social Security because I saw a lot of patients using Medicare. They had a lot of trouble with it sometimes. I did learn that even if patients do not have Medicare or insurance they will generally still accept the person into the hospital because the hospital does not have the heart to turn them away. My volunteering experience at John Muir Medical Center has help me understand Medicare a lot better because nurses were kind enough to answer all my questions about Medicare from filling out the form to problems and how they deal with them. Medicare will eventually go bankrupt because at the rate that people are using it and how fast that number is increasing Medicare will be out of funding indefinitely by the year 2001. The only thing that can be done is to raise taxes but that would be impossible because it is already costing taxpayers 200 billion dollars a year to keep Medicare going and that is hardly enough to even keep it going(CNN2). In fact that is not enough to keep it going. How to fix Medicare is the greatest challenge. This issue is a very important one that will eventually come under fire as we approach that year 2001 when Medicare is projected to go bankrupt. This issue might not be resolved and we could be seeing the end of Medicare. I this issue will get solved some how the taxpayers will pay Medicare out of trouble. This reminds me of an experience I had volunteering at John Muir Medical Center. I was working my shift and I experienced the pain of people that had there Medicare turned down. I remember seeing how angry patient was as she started to weep. This really showed the how important Medicare is to people and if that goes down a lot of people will be left without health coverage. This will cause a lot arguments on the side of the taxpayers but if the government does pass the bill taxpayers will have no choice. This solution might get Medicare out of the “drain” but will it really make people happy? Even if Medicare fails there will be others behind Medicare like Medicaid, MediCal, Social Security to help out but losing Medicare will be a major blow to society and U.S. may not recover from this one for a very long time.

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