Monday, May 7, 2012

Simple Fixes for Social Security and Medicare

I keep hearing republicans crying that social security and Medicare must be fixed and the only solution is the public sector. Their plans will turn social security over to Wall Street and Medicare over to insurance companies. If the Market collapses like it did in 2008 Social Security will be wiped out and their plan for Medicare will bankrupt most seniors as it will add thousand to their health care costs out of pocket. What republicans refuse to mention is the strain on Medicare, like the strain on the post office is 100% their fault, they passed a drug program without paying for it adding billions of dollars to an already strained system. A cynical person would say they didn’t pass this program to help seniors but passed it as a handout to drug companies and knowing it would break Medicare and they could then cry bankrupt and do away with the program (just like they are doing right now).

The first and easiest solution is the FICA tax, right now people only pay taxes on the first 106,800 dollars they make so the max they will pay is 4,485 dollars in FICA Tax. If they make 110,000 dollars or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 dollars they will pay the same 4,485 dollars in social security and Medicare tax.

Most working Americans currently pay 4.2% in FICA Tax which is still low and should be raised back up to at least 6%. While someone making 100K dollars pays the 4.2% of their income someone making 10 million dollars only pay .05% of their income in FICA tax far less then the average American pays. It’s time to lift the cap on this tax make everyone pay 4.2% on every dollar they earn. This would be a great first step and bring in more money to the government and extend the life of these two great programs.

Second step is to raise the retirement age of seniors, allow them to start receiving Medicare at 62 but raise the age where they can receive full Social Security slowly till the people who are currently in their 20’s or 30’s won’t be able to retire until they are 68. After raising the retirement age they can begin means testing for benefits. If you are working and making over 200K a year or if you have over 5 million dollars in assets you should not receive any retirement payments.

The simplest solution to Medicare we will not see in our lifetime and that is to switch over to a universal healthcare system. This would add millions of healthy people to the system and instead of just having the sick, disabled and elderly on the system. This will immediately drop the price of medical procedures, hospital trips and lower the cost of healthcare in America. The hospitals will no longer have to pass on the bills of uninsured people to the ones lucky enough to have insurance.

If everyone has the ability to see a doctor when they are feeling ill then things like Cancer or Diabetes can be caught early and managed or cured instead of people waiting till it’s to late and needing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medical care that could have been prevented. Facts show that companies with universal healthcare have a more efficient system, better service and it takes less money then we are spending now just to cover a fraction of the population.

These solution are simple and easy but will never get done as long as we allow insurance companies to write health care laws and to bribe politicians for their votes or rich people who own a whole political party which writes the rules and allows them to get away with paying a smaller percentage of taxes then middle class Americans. So until there are term limits that will allow politicians do what’s right for American not what’s right for their reelection or public financed elections nothing will change.


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