Medicare is government insurance. The patient's bill from the doctor or hospital is paid by the insurer, the federal government.
The Paul Ryan Republican plan -- let's call it "Gopcare" -- will destroy Medicare, not "modify" it. That's because under "Gopcare," the insurer will be a private sector insurance company.
Obviously, companies will need to continue to make profits and their premiums must be high enough to do so. However, the government will need to make the amount of its "voucher" to the individual low enough to save money -- the whole point of "Gopcare." The recipient will be squeezed between these two requirements, and the amount of the "voucher" will not come close to paying for adequate coverage.
Some questions: Will the amount of the "voucher" be a one-time payment to buy a policy? Will there be any choice of insurers? What happens when, inevitably, the insurers raise their premiums? Will all those reaching 65 be eligible? Virtually all Americans reaching age 65 have pre-existing conditions, such as arthritis and hypertension. Which pre-existing conditions will be covered, if any? What about hip, knee and shoulder replacement? Will there be deductibles? Will contributions to the defunct Medicare system be refunded?
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Of course, "Gopcare" supposedly won't kick-in for 10 years, so Ryan and Mitt Romney are hoping that those of you age 55 and under won't notice until much later.
I've asked the congressman who represents our new district. He doesn't know or care.
Hilton Head Island