Jansing and Co | November 29, 2012
>>> so we've been talking a lot about the fiscal cliff and of course long term entitlement reforms. so we wanted to take a deeper look what the it might mean for medicare . 50 million senior citizens get health insurance coverage through medicare and that number is growing quickly. polls show most americans don't want big changes to medicare . but if change does come, what might it look like? richard lui is here.
>> medicare is a very popular program. but according to reporting from nbc's tom costello, it's also more than 13% of all federal spending. and it's growing unsustainably. one cost cutting idea is to slowly raise the age limit to receive benefits. now it's 65. this is what retirement planners need to consider. let's say mr. and mrs. brown living on any street usa both turn 65 next year. they are unlikely to be affected and still can get medicare coverage. but if we walk next door, mr. and mrs. gonzalez could see a change. they are 60 years old and under current proposals, they would wait to 65 plus several months on top of that. farther down the street, the changes could have a longer coverage gap to fill. they are a55 and could wait until 66 or 67 or older. it could save money, but it just shifts costs to private insurance or employers in a less efficient way.
>> we want to see improvements that actually lower health care costs, not simply change them, make seniors pay more for health care .
>> now, one proposal could make seniors pay more simply if you make more, pay more. or what's called the means test. back to any street usa and mrs. graham. she makes less than $85,000. her monthly medicare premium is $115. her wealthier neighbors already pay up to $254 more per honesty because they make more than $58,000 a year. new changes could make them pay even more. since nearly every senior is or will use medicare , these changes could affect tens of millions of people.
>> what happens if we go off the fiscal cliff?
>> it comes to the white coats , the doctors. that's one thing to watch here. because the doctors, the money they get from medicare , that could go down almost 30%. the result, fitch says medicare recipients would have even lower access to doctors, hospitals, and the industry overall would also see a severe negative effect as money coming into the industry, that goes down. this is the number of medicare recipients they expect to thk by some 20 million in the next decade.
>> and we heard from chris van hollen , he is against raising the age of eligibility. so lots still to be decided. but thanks for helping us with that. that will wrap up this hour of jansing and company. thomas roberts