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Breaking Down Plans to Privatize Medicare

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You may be reading news reports about how some members of Congress want to privatize Medicare. By no means is this new news, but this week’s election results brought about renewed interest in these plans.

In years past, proposals to privatize Medicare—commonly known as premium support—relied on vouchers that people with Medicare would receive from the federal government to purchase private health plans. Past proposals had important differences: some introduce vouchers for future beneficiaries, some preserve Traditional Medicare as an option, some include defined benefits and consumer protections, etc.

While premium support proposals differ in their details, nearly all share a common and troubling theme—increased costs and diminished access to needed care for people with Medicare. Half of all people with Medicare live on $24,150 per year, and already they pay nearly three times as much on health care as non-Medicare households. Most older adults and people with disabilities simply cannot afford to pay more for health care.

Read Medicare Rights’ fact sheet on past proposals to privatize Medicare: Paying More for Less: Premium Support. As new proposals emerge, Medicare Rights will evaluate them and weigh in with Congress and the new Administration, working to ensure they keep in mind what’s best for the health and well-being of people with Medicare above all else.

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