Fifty Years Later: Medicare’s Impossible Math

Fifty years ago, Medicare was sold on the promise that it would unite the nation. But with Medicare’s unfunded liabilities approaching $100 trillion — a shortfall equaling almost six times the size of today’s economy — the question is whether Medicare will instead tear Americans apart.

Though many people know that Medicare is unsustainable, the program remains a third-rail issue in politics — untouchable in the minds of many Americans and political suicide for politicians who dare to approach it. In this live presentation (recorded February 18, 2015, at the Ayn Rand Institute’s headquarters in Irvine, California), ARI analyst Rituparna Basu explains why Medicare has attained this political status and what can be done about it.

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Fifty Years Later: Medicare's Impossible Math

18 thoughts on “Fifty Years Later: Medicare’s Impossible Math

  1. Fifty years ago, Medicare was sold on the promise that it would unite the
    nation. But with Medicare’s unfunded liabilities approaching $100 trillion
    — a shortfall equaling almost six times the size of today’s economy — the
    question is whether Medicare will instead tear Americans apart. In this
    talk, Rituparna Basu explains why Medicare is seen as untouchable and what
    can be done about it.

  2. Thank you! Medicare is the program that started ALL the problems with
    healthcare, and it should be DESTROYED.

    • Nationalized health care EVERYWHERE suffers from the EXACT same issues I’ve
      mentioned. Costs are climbing everywhere measured. Services suffer. Where
      is the innovation in healthcare occurring, anyway? Not China, certainly
      very little out of the EU. However, the US continues to lead the world in
      innovation, UNTIL Obamacare determines that innovation takes a second place
      to the defined parameters of Obamacare, and it’s already happening. I’ve
      spoken to many doctors over the last several months, my wife is a hospital
      nurse…the problems we face will NOT be cured by Obamacare, in fact, they
      will increase, and until we bring back the Free Market and its inherit
      benefits regarding personal responsibility, costs will rise and services
      will fall.

      You don’t have to believe me, just go volunteer at an area hospital, and
      watch for yourself. If you have no money, under Obamacare, you will become
      a Medicaid beneficiary, well, that’s NO different than before…Obamacare
      has made everything more expensive and hasn’t controlled rising costs. It’s
      simply common sense, you can’t point to a SINGLE social policy that has
      worked from the Federal Government, not one.

      In fact, I’m going to encourage you, go volunteer at your closest hospital,
      they will welcome you with open arms…you can always tell me I’m wrong,
      AFTER you go through the process and see it for yourself. Otherwise, all
      you’re doing is basing your position on another government liar.

    • Social Security is the best government program Republicans and Democrats
      both agree with that before Obamacare people could have got turned away
      because of pre-existing condition before Obamacare people could had lost
      their healthcare because they ran out there lifetime cap Obamacare just
      reduce the cost of healthcare 16 million people now have health care thanks
      to Obamacare. Do you believe health care should be a privilege only for
      those that can afford it or do you believe it be a
      Human right

  3. In reality I paid ‘elevated’ health care premiums for 40 years (‘cost
    shift’) to make up for medicare shortfalls to doctors and hospitals. I paid
    the inflated prices caused by socialized medicine. In essence, I paid
    ‘medicare’ twice; once through withholdings and again through higher
    private insurance premiums. So, my ‘contribution’ was not JUST from
    medicare taxes! I subsidized medicare for 40 years!!!!!!

  4. “Progressive Elaboration” is how they do it. Just the facts about what is
    going to happen won’t help at all. The government creates the problem them
    jumps in and sells a solution, that creates the next problem.

    You can’t repeal it, you can’t repeal social security. Grandma will be
    pushed off the cliff in the commercials. A larger group is now relying on
    medicare and social security. A huge voting block. The alternative is
    their children caring for them even after all of us have paid 17% of every
    dome we make into social security and medicare.

    Taxpayers are NOT footing the bill, not even close. The federal reserve is
    footing the bill through the printing of new dollars. There are not even
    close to enough tax dollars and no, it is not at the expense of anyone else
    since there is absolutely no plan or desire to ever pay the debt, WWIII
    eliminates debt and that will square it all away.

    The next step is student loans are 100% provided by government now so those
    payments will be “forgiven” if students start working in government
    healthcare and single provider is next..absolutely guaranteed…Ayn Rand
    Institute needs to get out in front not chase ghosts.

  5. I just want to say this to everybody that saying to get rid of Medicare how
    will you take care of the elderly. the World Health Organization has came
    out and said the best form of health care is universal health care if you
    are againt universal health care then you should also be against universal
    Police Department you should also be also against universal fire department
    you should be also again Universal library you should also be against
    universal public school you should also be against universal public road in
    highway. just think with logic and not with small government dogma. try
    thinking with common sense.

    • +BobWidlefish​ and how do you plan on phasing out the government social
      safety net?what do you plan on replacing it with? government jobs?

    • +Reggie Richards “name me one country where your form of government has
      worked in real life?” The United States of America. The excessive
      intrusions into individual lives is a fairly modern phenomenon. The period
      of greatest growth and raising of standard of living was prior to a welfare

      “how do you plan on phasing out the government social safety net?” There
      are many approaches to this I would support. An initial step might be
      means-test all welfare benefits (many already are). A later step might be
      to consolidate the many (80+) welfare benefit programs into a single direct
      cash payment program — this would eliminate much government overhead and
      give people more flexibility. A later step would be to reduce the amount
      paid over time. Though these are just examples: there are many strategies
      I would support. The intention would be to let people know what’s changing
      long in advance, and phase it out slowly. There might have to be some
      benefits grandfathered in for the lifetime of anyone above a certain age —
      I would be okay with that. The key thing is that the welfare state get
      phased out. It doesn’t need to happen tomorrow or all at once. As soon as
      possible I would also want to eliminate many of the current barriers to
      employment (various government intrusions that reduce employment).

      “what do you plan on replacing it with?” Freedom and personal
      responsibility. I would also support local communities and states working
      out their own strategies. This would likely result in some welfare
      benefits being preserved and transferred to local governments.

      Here are some things I bet you’d agree with even if you don’t agree with my
      1) It’s not necessary or desirable to have 83 separate and partially
      overlapping federal welfare programs — this is a huge source of waste that
      means less money goes to people that need it.
      2) One-size-fits-all programs at the federal level don’t make sense when
      the cost of living in rural Arkansas and downtown New York City are vastly
      vastly different. It’s also clearly the case that local cities and states
      know what’s really needed to help much better than any distant bureaucrat
      in DC writing one-size-fits-all programs possibly could. Local help means
      better help, and less waste.
      3) Government rules that create barriers to employment are bad.

    • +Reggie Richards I don’t deny for a second that some safety net programs
      are currently keeping some people above the federally defined poverty
      level. That’s plain for anyone to see. However:
      1) I deny that federal welfare programs are the only solution.
      2) I deny that forced wealth redistribution is morally good.
      3) I deny that welfare programs have achieved their goals of eliminating or
      even significantly reducing poverty. I think they’ve caused stagnation and
      essentially subsidized poverty.

      Think of it this way: one goal people might have is to provide emergency
      funds for people in desperate situations right now. A separate goal is to
      get people *out* of poverty, and make it so there aren’t people who *depend*
      on welfare. The current programs have clearly failed to eliminate poverty
      and have created incentives that cause many people to depend on welfare
      programs rather than incentivizing people to become independent.

      Read this:

  6. you know the irony in watching this is that ayn Rand took Medicare later in
    life just like the hypocrite she is. you guys need to wake up I mean no

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