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The Catastrophic Benefits of Medicare

Prior to the late 1980s, working Americans with a regular private insurance policy would have enough coverage to address issues like new services that came with the territory of health care in the United States. For example, if one of these individuals needed prescription drugs to sustain or conclude an illness that might have once required longer stays in the hospital, private insurance took this new concept into consideration and covered the costs for the patient. Unfortunately, Medicare benefits were much further behind, forcing seniors to pay for medicines they could not afford.

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In 1988, that problem was remedied when President Reagan signed into law the ‘catastrophic benefit’ clause on Medicare, extending hospital coverage more than 60 days, limiting out of pocket expenses, and subsidizing a portion of costs that come with prescription drugs, etc. Republicans and Democrats were fully in support of this new plan, since it seemed to resolve common sense problems for everyday seniors.

Unfortunately, the law was mandatory, requiring every senior to invest into this new program with their own money, an awful and heartless catch behind the legislation. Angry seniors forced the law to be repealed within a year, after Reagan had already finished his second term in office and wouldn’t face the backlash of disgruntled voters. Critics argue that the reason Reagan’s plan failed was because he didn’t offer full coverage for prescription drugs. In essence, by subsidizing the costs with the money of retired citizens, the law was doomed to fail.

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Today, Republicans are banking on the notion that a majority of voters will continue disliking aspects of the Affordable Care Act enough that they can seize on the animosity and put a sledgehammer in the law once and for all. Whether they have a viable alternative is far more questionable and it would seem that Americans are growing tired of the partisan in-fighting.

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  1. 2012/11/19(月) 00:10:18|
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