The American Association of Retired Persons will oppose any federal legislation to turn Medicare into a voucher system, whereby seniors would get a fixed amount of money to buy private health insurance.State Director Connie Benjamin said Tuesday if the vouchers fail to cover all their health care needs, they would have to pay the extra costs out of pocket.
About 300,000 Nebraskans currently in Medicare and another 361,000 Nebraskans who will enter Medicare in the next 15 years would face rising health care bills under a voucher system, she said.
Vouchers have been discussed in Congress as a way to stop the ever-increasing federal costs of the Medicare program.
Benjamin said Nebraskans age 65-plus have a median annual income of $23,000. Thirty percent have 2-3 chronic health conditions.
"Ending today’s guaranteed set of benefits and changing Medicare into a voucher program means many would have to choose between paying for health care and other necessities," she said
Benjamin said that would be fundamentally unfair to Nebraskans who have paid into Medicare throughout their working lives.
During President Trump’s campaign, he promised older Americans that he would protect Medicare. AARP urges Sens. Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse and Rep. Adrian Smith to do the same and oppose any voucher legislation.
“Congress should instead commit to strengthening Medicare and find sensible ways to curb rising health care costs, such as getting serious about lowering the cost of prescription drugs,” Benjamin said.