Obama Won’t Voucherize Medicare for Boomers, But He’ll Hike Their Premiums

With the presidential election looming, each candidates’ platforms are being parsed under a national spotlight, with particular focus given to their positions on senior-related issues such as Medicare.

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, has a controversial plan detailed in his budget proposal to essentially transform the senior healthcare entitlement program into a voucher-based system that gives each beneficiary a certain amount of money with which to shop for private insurance.

While President Obama’s plan for Medicare looks much different than Romney and Ryan’s, it does feature some changes—tweaks that haven’t garnered the approval of senior interest group AARP.

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The Associated Press reports:

He’ll never turn Medicare into a voucher, but if you are lucky enough to be financially comfortable in retirement, odds are you’ll pay higher premiums under President Barack Obama’s plan. It’s not just the 1 percent who’ll feel the pinch.

And take note, baby boomers: The Medicare you get won’t be quite as generous as what your parents’ generation enjoys. A higher deductible here, a new co-payment there, and the tweaks add up.

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Most of the president’s cost-cutting ideas are incorporated in his health care law, and will phase in unless Romney wins and makes good on his pledge to repeal it. Other Obama proposals are drawn from government advisory groups or bipartisan commissions seeking consensus on how to reduce deficits.

It doesn’t mean they’re pain-free. AARP gave a thumbs-down to this year’s Obama budget, citing Medicare cost shifts.

If Obama is re-elected and plunges into deficit negotiations with congressional Republicans, he will be pushed for greater Medicare savings, by cutting payments to service providers or squeezing more from recipients.

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“Neither one of (the candidates) is going to basically lay his cards on the table before the election,” said former AARP CEO Bill Novelli, now at Georgetown University in Washington. “Obama is going to have to raise the price of benefits, whether by hundreds or thousands, I don’t know. Where else is the money going to come from, besides printing it?” 

In the article, the AP reports on a set of questions it sent to the Obama campaign regarding his plans for seniors’ healthcare and how those plans would affect the older demographic. Read more here.

Written by Alyssa Gerace