To Save Medicare: Medicare is expected to dry up in the next 5 years; by 2028, Medicare will be insolvent. The Biden administration has unveiled a plan to extend the life of the program, which provides free health care to senior citizens.
The plan in a nutshell: Biden intends to tax wealthy Americans.
The plan, announced on Tuesday, calls for raising Medicare taxes on Americans who earn an income over $400,000. Americans who earn less than $400,000 will not see a Medicare tax increase. For Americans making more than $400,000, the Medicare tax rate will increase from 3.8 percent to 5 percent. “By asking those with the highest incomes to contribute modestly more, we can keep the Medicare program strong for decades to come,” the White House said.
Additionally, Biden’s plan hopes to close “loopholes” that have allowed wealthy Americans and business owners to wiggle out from paying the Medicare tax. Also, the Biden administration also hopes to allow Medicare to negotiate the cost of more prescription drugs
Biden’s Medicare plan is expected to be consistent with the budget plan he will be announcing later this week. “The White House has said Biden’s proposed budget would outline plans for cutting the deficit by $2 trillion over the next decade while boosting the amount that billionaires pay in taxes,” POLITICO reported.
Will Congress go for it?
Probably not. But Biden’s Medicare plan may exacerbate growing divisions within the GOP, where entitlement programs have become a contested issue. One side of the GOP, a side led by former President Donald Trump, is vowing to preserve entitlement programs like Medicare.
Trump has been using entitlement programs as a wedge issue, to draw a contrast with conservatives like Ron DeSantis, who Trump said would just throw a wheelchair over a cliff if it came down to it. The other side of the GOP, led by your Chuck Grassley types, is calling for an end to entitlement programs.
Letting entitlements die would be a mistake
Personally, I think the idea of letting entitlement programs wither and die is draconian and absurd.
I don’t trust Trump to preserve entitlement programs – his actions tend to undermine his words when it comes to entitlement preservation – but I appreciate that he is at minimum calling out Republicans who have threatened to axe the overwhelmingly popular social programs.
My hope is that Trump, who has a unique talent for attacking and degrading his political opponents, can frame mainstream Republicans like Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley, who have proposed entitlement cuts in the past, as unreasonable and cruel.
Maybe Trump can promote the idea, accepted among wide swaths of the U.S. population, including conservatives, that entitlement programs are essential for preserving our quality of life. I mean, what’s the alternative?
Letting the vast majority of Americans, who have limited resources, die in squalor? Or alternatively, burn through their life savings in the hopes of treating end-of-life ailments? It’s a disturbing concept with a dystopian vibe.
If raising Medicare taxes on the Americans who are already comfortably within the top one percent of income earners, from 3.8 percent to 5 percent is enough to save Medicare, I’m all for it. Frankly, I’d support more aggressive measures to extend the life of Medicare.
And, frankly, I’m in my thirties. I’ve already been paying a Medicare tax for almost twenty years – a tax for a program that I won’t directly be able to access unless something changes between now and the year that I qualify, sometime in the late 2050s.
I would like to have access to Medicare, something I have already spent nearly two decades paying for.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.