'Mediscare' Tactics

Political rhetoric is fueling fears about the future of Medicare, but the frightening reality is that the program is going broke
The Buffalo News
Aug. 20, 2012

Mitt Romney, echoing concerns expressed for months by Republican congressional candidate Chris Collins, says millions of seniors will "lose their coverage" thanks to President Obama's cuts in funding for the popular Medicare Advantage program.

That's not true. Some seniors may change insurers because of those cuts , but they won't lose their coverage.

Meanwhile, Obama reprises a refrain from Rep. Kathleen C. Hochul's campaign, saying the budget plan put forth by GOP vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan will "end Medicare as we know it."

But that's not true, either - at least not any more. Traditional Medicare would continue as an option under Ryan's revised health care plan.

There is a hard truth, though, underlying all the rhetoric.

Medicare is going broke...

Some sort of transformation is needed, Medicare experts agree, for one awful reason.

The trustees who oversee the program say the Medicare trust fund that covers the program's hospital costs is due to run out of money in 2024.

"Medicare, in its current form, is not sustainable," said Steve Bell, senior director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. If current policy is not changed, "there will come a time ... when the Medicare trust fund is not able to pay all the bills beneficiaries accumulate on time and in full."