Thursday, October 07, 2010

That 2000 Dollar Deductible...

Rand Paul has proposed a 2000 dollar deductible for Medicare recipients.

The interesting bit in that video:

"I'm not talking about changing the deductible for anyone who gets Medicare currently," Paul told Cavuto. "But I am saying younger people -- probably 55 and under."

"We need people who will stand up like adults, admit to the problems, and try to fix these problems," Paul added. "Not on the backs of current senior citizens, but on the next generation that comes forward."
Paul later stated that he doesn't support higher deductibles for Medicare. Perhaps not even on the frail backs of future senior citizens?

Deductibles are a popular conservative nostrum for anything that ails health care in general. They make the price of medical care unsubsidized until the subscriber has spent the size of the deductible. What this means in the present case is that seniors on Medicare would have to spend 2000 dollars out-of-pocket before Medicare would step in at all. For those seniors whose sole income comes from Social Security (and many women are in that group, due to traditional gender roles) spending 2000 bucks on medical care each year is a lot of money. Might mean not eating or not heating.

Still, perhaps the deductibles could be adjusted by the Medicare recipient's income level? But even in that case they would be unlikely to drastically reduce Medicare total spending, simply because most of that is linked to hospitalization. By the time a person is ill enough to be admitted to a hospital that 2000 deductible has become irrelevant.