History is made by those who work for every inch. When it comes to health care, tracking changes in federal policy is important – because work is being done. Some changes help, others threaten to strip older Americans of their benefits. Last week, America was treated to a stark contrast.
On the campaign trail, Democratic presidential candidates continue to promote various versions of “Medicare for all,” effectively a federal take-over of means of production and distribution for health care in the United States.
Never mind that socialized medicine, and specific bills pending in the US House and Senate, would make private health insurance through employers illegal, that 180 million Americans would immediately lose their plans and doctors, that the cost of the debacle would top 30 trillion dollars, and that the quality of care – based on parallel international experiments – would plummet.
Never mind that, when presidential candidate Bernie Sanders last week got coronary stents, these were already covered under Medicare Part B – although with his wealth, and that of fellow older Democratic candidates Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, costs will likely never be a factor.
Never mind that President Trump has pushed price transparency, and pressed for lower prescription drug prices with executive orders, that the Republican Senate Finance Committee earlier this year released a bill aimed at lowering drug prices for seniors, and that this triggered a copy-cat bill from House Democrats – just released and mandating lowering costs.
On the flip side, President Trump has taken the lead in creating policy options that are real – not imaginary, affordable not nonsensically expensive. He has promoted ideas that leverage advances in the private sector while making them increasingly accessible to seniors.
Specifically, last week – at an event in Florida, attended by many AMAC members – the President again innovated, focusing attention on improving access to health care by seniors by kicking off a new cost-reducing initiative.
By contrast to the socialist takeover of American medicine, President Trump expanded access to “tax-advantaged medical saving accounts,” and confirmed that he has already reduced Medicare premiums to a 13-year low.
In Florida, he signed a new “executive order” lowering barriers to use of medical savings accounts by Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. As many know, Medicare Advantage plans are available through private insurers – of the sort Medicare-for-all plans would ban – and include Parts A, B and portions of D coverage.
Private insurers are paid by Medicare to cover costs, and roughly 34 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. Since that translates to north of 22 million Americans, the President’s move is important.
In effect, what he did was to widen access to Medical Saving Accounts, which permit money to be saved and used to cover medical care costs incurred prior to meeting the deductible. Like the so-called “health savings accounts,” use of these funds would be tax-free for “qualified medical expenses,” with funds left unused rolled over at year-end.
President Trump has already pushed reduced prescription drug costs. He did so through an executive order in 2019. He has further pledged to work with House and Senate members of both parties to further lower drug costs. He is not sitting on the sidelines, indulging socialist nonsense or making excuses. He is acting.
By expanding private-sector Medicare coverage, giving seniors choices and lowering overall costs, he is making helping real people pay real bills, not pretending an all-powerful Government of Oz can wave a wand and fix all ills with Medicare-for-all.
Some will say this is not enough. Perhaps even the President thinks so. But roughly 64 million people were covered by Medicare in 2019, and as costs fall and benefits rise, the reason is relatively clear: President Trump.
Say what you will, but results speak louder than shrill shouts and the pipedreams of aspiring socialists. History is made by those who work for every inch, who work within the system and who care – not by those who promise pie-in-the-sky, knowing the promise is empty.