Medicare and Legislation
Medicare costs in the United States have been rising fast and steadily in the recent years. The rise in the cost of healthcare is unlike in other sectors such as technology which become affordable over time. Two significant legislative attempts have been made in the past twenty years to control the rising cost of Medicare. These are the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 and the Affordable Care Act 2010 commonly known as Obamacare.
Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003
This Act authorized the formation of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) that targeted small businesses that do not self-insure. This was done with the understanding that persons without a health cover often face higher medical costs compared to those that are covered. The HSAs also favored persons that are self-employed, the ones in-between jobs, freelancers and early retires. The HSAs are trusts and the contributions belong to the individual. The HSA trust cannot be mixed with other funds, and the law made it clear that they can only be invested through insurance companies and banks.
Affordable Care Act 2010
The Act was signed into law by President Obama in 2010. The legislation intended to involve the federal government in the Medicare program and in the process increase the number of Americans under a health cover. Health cover was made mandatory for all Americans. Discriminatory practices of insurance companies based gender and pre-existing conditions were abolished. The law expanded the federal subsidy on health coverage lowering the out of pocket costs for millions of Americans. It also established a new tax on high premium plans that are sponsored by the employer. An Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) was set up to monitor and contain the growth of Medicare costs.
The two acts have not been effective in mitigating the escalating cost of Medicare. The administration and provision of health care in America is very inefficient. The administrative costs are very high in the insurance companies. Further, the population is aging and relying more on the contributions of the younger generation to fund their increased health needs.