Means-Test Medicare

As our elected representatives struggle to find a way to both trim entitlements and safeguard existing tax revenues I think they are missing an important opportunity. Our largest single health-care provider already means-tests its recipients. That is the Veterans Administration’s health-care system. (Medicare is a voucher system and not a single health care provider.) I have been a patient with the VA health care system for more than 40 years. For a while when I was covered by my employer’s health care system I did not use the VA and if I had they would have had the right to ask for reimbursement from my employer’s system and/or additional co-payment from me due to my income.

Why can’t we do this with Medicare? MediCal is means tested. How about means-testing Social Security as well to keep it solvent in the future? Doing both would certainly trim the cost of these two large entitlement programs while preserving tax revenue for other needs. It seems to me that both programs were designed to assist the needy. If people are not truly needy does it make sense to sacrifice education and close libraries to subsidize health care or provide additional income for millionaires?

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