Medicare is broke. So is Social Security. You probably haven't heard this because the Democratic Party refuses to admit any mistakes. Ever. And the Republican Party is wholly inept at seizing political opportunity and making such statements.
But Medicare is broke. And Democrats are attempting to push through a solution to this broke, broken system. Perhaps you have heard it's name? It is officially termed the Affordable Care Act. More common folks refer to it as Obamacare. And it's intent is to eventually roll all retirees into this new system, to be paid for by the young and the healthy.
It is the ultimate insult that the Baby Boomer generation has received all of the funds paid into Social Security and Medicare by their generation and those who preceded them and now that they are entering retirement, the younger generations will be asked to foot this extraordinary bill. Remember that next time your parents take an extravagant vacation. Or dad divorces mom, runs off with his barber and buys a hot new sports car.
There are rumors that Democrats are lusting heavily for private 401(k) investment accounts in order to shore up the Social Security Administration as well. Same basic strategy--force younger taxpayers to pay into a system to support the aged with the promise that this system will be there for them when they are old.
Sound familiar? That is exactly how Social Security and Medicare were sold to voters originally. And we see how well those two programs are living up to their billing.
The problem is that we are literally robbing Peter to pay Paul--taxing younger voters to pay benefits to older voters. Instead, the system should be investment-centric, like the 401(k) system. Such a system can be customized to meet the needs and expectations of the individual investor-taxpayer. It can also be adjusted as a 20-something gets married, has children and nears retirement. "One size fits all" just doesn't fit all very well. And government is woefully inept at customizing scores of options to meet the needs of all taxpayers in all of our varied positions and conditions in life.
Medicare is similar. A healthy 20-something generally doesn't need much in the way of insurance--they are healthy! But as they have children the medical bills start coming in. And if they have been saving and continue to save they have the ability to pay either out of pocket or through a health savings account if such a thing were required. Instead, government is here to help.
The problem is that Social Security already went defunct in 1983, which is why Congress voted to significantly raise taxes--to circle the wagons and save the FDR-era program. And Medicare is following suit, which is why the ACA was implemented.
What is needed is to move the direction of a privatized system in the case of both Medicare and Social Security. Had this been accomplished in 1983 we would be 30 years down the way toward a solution today. We did not, so we are not.
If Republicans were willing to discuss such things in a relevant way that makes sense to the contemporary populace they may even be able to win votes.
They may even be able to win young voters. But that requires actually talking about these things.