Posted on 17 November 2011
By Mark Miller
The Congressional Super Committee negotiations are coming down to the wire, and Republicans are demanding that Medicare privatization be included in any final budget deal.
The news comes on the heels of GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s recent call for creation of a “premium support” option that would let seniors choose between traditional fee-for-service Medicare or a defined amount of money that they could use to shop for a private plan in a federally-sponsored Medicare exchange marketplace. Romney’s proposal is a cousin of the privatization plan proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, and endorsed by the House of Representatives earlier this year.
Even if the Super Committee process stalls, the future of Medicare will be a key issue in the 2012 Presidential race, and any restructuring of the program would impact billions of dollars of healthcare spending and tens of millions of beneficiaries. How would privatization impact seniors? How would benefits change, and what would it mean for seniors’ cost of healthcare? My Reuters Money column this week answers five key questions on what Medicare privatization would mean for seniors.