Medicare: The Facts You Need to Know

MEDICARE: Facts You Need To Know

What is Medicare?
Medicare is a Federal program that pays for health care for about 40 million seniors (age 65 and up) and 8 million disabled Americans. Most enrollees simply go to a doctor or hospital to get treatment, and then the government reimburses that provider. Medicare is paid for by a combination of payroll taxes, premiums paid by enrollees, and borrowing from the government.

How much does Medicare cost?
About $516 billion was spent providing Medicare benefits in 2010, and the program is projected to grow 7% each year for the next 10 years.

THE FACTS: Common questions in the current Medicare debate.


What is the Republican plan
for Medicare?


Within The Path To Prosperity (also known as Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal), Republicans propose to:

(1) repeal Obamacare in order to prevent rationing of Medicare,
(2) preserve the current Medicare program for those age 55 and older,
(3) control Medicare costs by providing future retirees with a list of health care plans to choose from and a premium support payment based on their level of income--in other words, lower-income seniors with greater health risks recieve more premium support than wealthier seniors.


Do Republicans want to "end Medicare as we know it" or take it away from current enrolles?


This charge is completely false.  Under the Republican plan, Medicare will not change for anyone aged 55 or older. Therefore, those in or near retirement will experience absolutely no change.


Do Republicans shift more costs to seniors?


No.  Future retirees will have a Medicare program that utilizes choice and increase quality and lower costs.  They will pick a plan from the list of Medicare-approved guaranteed coverage options.  Seniors and disabled will choose a plan the best meets their individual needs.


Is it true that seniors will pay an extra $6,400 for their Medicare under the Republican plan?


No. Those making this claim are using an inaccurate analysis that fails to include the extra $7,800 the Republican plan provides to lower-income seniors.


Why does President Obama call the Republican plan a "voucher system" ?


This is a false suggestion. The Republican plan has nothing to do with "vouchers."  Under our plan, future retirees will not receive a voucher, and will not go shopping for a plan in the private insurance market.


Why does Medicare need to be changed at all?

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that Medicare will be bankrupt in 9 years.  If there are no reforms for future generations, the only way to pay for Medicare will be a devastating formula of  increased costs and/or taxes, and lower quality care.


What does Obamacare do to Medicare?


In order to pay for President Obama's $2.6 trillion health care law, Medicare has been stripped of $468 billion in funds.  To further save costs, Obamacare empowers a board of unelected bureaucrats to decide what treatments Medicare will cover.  Many refer to this as rationing health care.


Want to learn more?

Congressman Paul Ryan, the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, provides a five minute crash course on the Republican plan to save Medicare here: