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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Preserving or dismantling Medicare


Working as a rural family doctor the past 30 years, it is most disheartening to see someone who has worked hard all their life have a catastrophic illness which throws them into bankruptcy. We must ignore the negative TV ads and campaign rhetoric to determine which political party will preserve Medicare.

The U.S. House has passed the Ryan budget, (which Romney endorsed) which will fundamentally change Medicare as we have known it since 1965. The plan replaces guaranteed defined benefits with a premium support voucher which patients would use to buy private insurance. The Congressional Budget Office estimates a 65 year old by 2022 would pay $6,870 more out of pocket under the Ryan plan than with traditional Medicare. The plan slowly privatizes Medicare by shifting more cost and risk to the elderly.

The plan shrinks Medicare by raising the eligibility age to 67. This will be especially hard on people in physically demanding jobs. The Ryan plan takes our country back to the 1950’s when many elderly got sicker and died quicker due to inability to afford medical care.

The Affordable Care Act supported by the American Academy of Family Physicians provides a better path forward by preserving Medicare.

Scott Johnson, M.D.
Loveland, Colorado

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