We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Do any of the ideas for fixing Medicare's problems involve kicking the can down the road? Because that's how they've been dealing with the problems of all the entitlement spending programs for the last 40 years or so and it's been working just fine so far! Just keep denying that the mathematical fact of compound growth over even a fairly short time results in some eye-poppingly ginormous numbers that can't possibly be dealt with in any manner not involving magic wands and tooth fairies and everything will be okay.
"Contrary to a mistaken belief among many seniors that they have somehow “paid” for the benefits that they enjoy in retirement, the truth is that today’s working taxpayers pay for nearly all of Medicare’s current benefits."
This is a common meme from anyone who wants to end a program. Yet how much do welfare recipients "pay" for their welfare? How much do immigrants legal and illegal 'pay' for the substantial benefits they get just by entering our country?
How to fix medicare: Make it a pay to play system. You worked and paid the medicare 'tax' all your life then you get medicare when you retire. IF the tax is insufficient to cover the people who are legitimately on Medicare then increase the tax; adjust benefits and make it solvent. Create a system of deductibles and co-pays to compensate for medicare recipients who either paid nothing into the system or only paid a few years into the system. For example you arrive here as an immigrant at age 65 (or are a welfare recipient who never worked) and immediately sign up for medicare your co-pay and deductible should be more than or equal to the actual costs of any care you receive. In other words don't make medicare a 'welfare' system and don't force the people who paid into all their life to incur the costs for those who freeload.
I would be happy for the Federal Government to pay me, with modest interest, all the money that I've paid in Medicare and Social Security over the past 49 years. I would find a way to make that money work for me in the private sector.
Most doctors here will not take Medicare patients because reimbursements are under costs so the doctors lose money not make money (exceptions are those in a hospital practice, since for some reason hospitals qualify for a higher reimbursement than individual doctors--this is driving a lot of individual doctors out of business). Since Obamacare cut in it is a 3-6 month vetting process for whether a doctor will accept you as a patient. If you are on Medicare or otherwise on unacceptable insurance you will at some point be told "the doctor is not taking new patients."
Nearly a third of Oahu’s primary care doctors are no longer accepting new patients.
Many patients are left in limbo as their doctors retire, decline patients on Medicare or Medicaid — the government health insurance programs for seniors and low-income residents — or are unwilling to take on those with complicated medical problems due to new payment models that penalize providers for poor patient outcomes.
A total of 145 of Oahu’s 463 primary care physicians have stopped taking new patients regardless of insurance coverage, according to a study by Crown Care LLC, a Honolulu patient advocacy company. In addition, 72 primary care doctors, or 16 percent, are accepting only privately insured patients."
( http://www.staradvertiser.com/2016/10/23/business/options-for-primary-care-doctors-are-shrinking/ Our local news sources are now behind pay walls, so you can't get access on the internet.)