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I have been following the presidential candidate discussions on health care, specifically the push for Medicare for All.
The North Carolina average for a family’s health insurance premium is $618 per month, according to healthmarkets.com, or $7,416 annually. If you search for health plans, that price comes with a large deductible of $10,000 per year, meaning the average health insurance bill is $17,416 a year assuming a family has routine health care and pays the full deductible.
The current Medicare tax rate is 1.45%, combined with Social Security tax rate of 6.2%, and a maximum combined of $8,239.80, according to adp.com. A Medicare for All plan would mean everyone’s tax bill would have to go up beyond the maximum over $9,000 to cover the current average health insurance bill. Note that the Medicare percentage of FICA is small, so the increase may be even larger.
Besides the tax increase questions, what concerns me is the constant barrage of television commercials for Medicare supplement plans to cover the things Medicare does not. That means everyone will have a tax increase for health care and still need to buy supplemental coverage. I believe the politicians touting Medicare for All are not telling the whole story and their cost estimates don’t include what we will face in terms of supplements or other costs not covered by Medicare.
As someone approaching Medicare age, I have been keenly aware that all the money I have paid into Medicare to this point will not cover me completely and still require me to pay for additional supplemental coverage. Before we as a nation buy into Medicare for All, we need to have a full accounting of what it will cost up front, the additional cost required to maintain what we currently have and how the government plans to manage the program without cost overruns.
We also need, codified by law, that any increase in taxes for Medicare for All will actually pay for health care and not some pork barrel project. We need hard facts and not emotionally charged speeches that evade the questions. One other question no one has addressed is how to keep the current Medicare and Social Security programs solvent. Adding another level of bureaucracy doesn’t seem to me to be the most effective way to manage that problem.