Healthcare – Just Facts

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

[Under Medicare Part C] Most beneficiaries have the option to enroll in private health insurance plans that contract with Medicare to provide Part A and Part B medical services. The share of Medicare beneficiaries in such plans has risen rapidly in recent years, reaching 25.0 percent in 2010 from 12.4 percent in 2004. Plan costs for the standard benefit package can be significantly lower or higher than the corresponding cost for beneficiaries in the “traditional” or “fee-for-service” Medicare program, but prior to the Affordable Care Act [ACA, a.k.a. Obamacare], private plans were generally paid a higher average amount, and the additional payments were used to reduce enrollee cost-sharing requirements, provide extra benefits, and/or reduce Part B and Part D premiums. These benefit enhancements were valuable to enrollees but also resulted in higher Medicare costs overall and higher premiums for all Part B beneficiaries, not just those who were enrolled in MA plans. Under the ACA, payments to plans will be based on “benchmarks” in a range of 95 to 115 percent of fee-for-service Medicare costs, with bonus amounts payable for plans meeting high quality-of-care standards. (Prior to the ACA, the benchmark range was generally 100 to 140 percent of fee-for-service costs.) As these changes phase in during 2012-2017, the overall participation rate for private health plans is expected to decline from 25 percent in 2010 to about 15 percent in 2020.

Reality Check: Obama Cuts Social Security and Medicare by Much More Than the GOP

—the regularity is a little astonishing—Americans hold a serious debate about their place in the world. What, they ask, is going wrong? And how can it be fixed? The discussion, moreover, almost always starts the same way. Having extricated itself with some success from a costly war, the United States then embraces a scaled-down foreign policy, the better to avoid overcommitment. But when unexpected challenges arise, people start asking whether the new, more limited strategy is robust enough. Politicians and policy makers, scholars and experts, journalists and pundits, the public at large, even representatives of other governments (both friendly and less friendly) all take part in the back-and-forth. They want to know whether America, despite its decision to do less, should go back to doing more—and whether it can.

House GOP Health Plan Eliminates Two Medicare Taxes, Giving Very Large Tax Cuts to the Wealthy

In 2014, taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes above $1 million derived about 40 percent of their income from net capital gains, dividends, and taxable interest income; they received more than half of all income from these sources in 2014.  Taxpayers with incomes above $10 million received an average of 56 percent of their income from capital gains, dividends, and taxable interest income.  By contrast, these sources only made up about 3 percent of the income of people who made between $50,000 and $75,000.  IRS Statistics of Income, Individual Statistical Tables by Size of Adjusted Gross Income, Table 1.4,

ACA Repeal Would Lavish Medicare Tax Cuts on 400 Highest

Before health reform, Medicare taxes applied only to wage and salary and self-employment income, not to unearned income from wealth.  For low- and moderate-income working families, which have little unearned income, this meant that Medicare taxes applied to virtually all of their income.  In contrast, the wealthiest taxpayers owed no Medicare taxes on their unearned income, which represents a significant share of their income.

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