The Republican-controlled Senate released, yet again, an updated version of its healthcare bill this afternoon. While the news is still fresh and requires parsing, we have found some good news for Medicare beneficiaries. In short: funding for the national insurance program, which most senior citizens rely on for their healthcare needs, will not change (at least for now).
What changed in the healthcare bill
More specifically, the new version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) no longer repeals several taxes that were initiated when the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, passed in 2010. Some of these taxes are specifically tied to the funding of Medicare. Such major taxes that will not be repealed include a 3.8% mark on investment income by those who make more than $200,000 per year, the Medicare Health Insurance Tax (a 0.9% payroll tax on high-income individuals), and a tax on compensation for health insurance executives. Taxes on smaller items, such as tanning salons, will be repealed.
What this means for Medicare beneficiaries
Upon first analysis, this is good news for Medicare beneficiaries and an example that President Donald Trump is keeping his promise to avoid making cuts to the health insurance program. It comes shortly after the Treasury Department announced that the U.S. ran a budget deficit of $90 billion in June, partly because Medicare payments accelerated into June, according to MarketWatch. By eliminating the repeals, the bill will raise more money for healthcare and insurance needs. The bill, however, does not bring much hope to Medicaid recipients, as it appears most of the proposed, steep cuts to Medicaid will remain intact.
What lies ahead for Medicare
Medicare recipients shouldn’t celebrate for too long, however. On the same day that the Senate released this updated healthcare bill, a federal report released by the trustees of Medicare and Social Security had some not-so-good news regarding the two programs. According to the Washington Post, the trustee reported that Medicare’s hospital expense will run out of money in 2029.
“A combination of an aging population and tepid economic growth has produced the projected short-falls for both Social Security and Medicare,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a prepared statement. Perhaps that’s why, according to The Hill, Munchin “called for economic growth as a palliative for Social Security and Medicare trust funds.”
President Trump has not yet commented, nor has he tweeted, about the latest version of the healthcare bill as he is currently overseas in France. The Senate still needs to vote on the bill and it is yet undetermined if, unlike the previous versions, it will garner enough votes to pass.
The new Medicare Plus Card saves you up to 75% on things not covered by Medicare
Medicare doesn’t cover everything. Luckily, those on Medicare can now start saving on out of pocket expenses like prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing, and more. Over 1 million people have already received their free Medicare Plus Card.