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.
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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.
March 7, 2023 at 11:09 pm
Democrats have one solution for every situation…raise taxes.
Never, ever, ever have they cut taxes.
Tax and spend. Oh, and open borders that kill 100,000 Americans a year.
March 8, 2023 at 5:15 am
Entitlement Programs – sounds like something is being given away for free but the reality is that like yourself, many who claim from these programs have been paying into them for decades. Would you refer to a paid into pension or a stocks and shares investment an entitlement program ? Same thing. Far better to call them Payback on Investment programs so that the GOP can stop foaming at the mouth.
March 8, 2023 at 7:10 am
“Medicare. . .which provides free health care to senior citizens.” As you point out later in the opinion piece, you paid into Medicare during your working life and will continue to pay during retirement for Plan A (mandatory) and optional Supplemental and drug plans. High earners (like I was prior to retirement) are already subsidizing others through IRMAA payments in retirement. To fix this program, they need to eliminate all beneficiaries who have NOT paid into it, eliminate fraud and waste (which is significant), extend the age of eligibility based on scientific actuarial data they’ve been collecting for centuries or could get from insurance companies who sell life insurance, negotiate prices and increase competition among drug suppliers, and invest whatever trust funds remain in a diversified asset allocation that includes equities, commodities, precious metals, various types of laddered fixed income, and other non-ESG alternatives while markets are down. They also need to cap awards from litigation against health care workers and pharmaceutical firms to bring their costs down and position them to agree to lower pricing while still having some reasonable margin. Awards need to be more closely tied to the claimant’s “life value”, as is done when insurance companies determine maximum life insurance or disability benefits.
March 9, 2023 at 6:52 pm
Social Security and Medicare Funds were “tapped into” many times by corrupt US Govt Officials. Now we have Millions of Invaders entering our Country via The Southern Border. I’m sure the perks and Medical Benefits they will be “Entitled to” will be paid for by US Working Class Folks like you and me!
Impeach Biden and Jail every Senator or Congressman who misappropriated these funds! Close The Border and send all these invaders back to where they came from.
Immigration via Legal Pathways….YES. Invaders-No!