Panel: Saving Medicare requires public support

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Panel: Saving Medicare requires public support
Panel: Saving Medicare requires public support

While there are a number of potential solutions to the Medicare funding crisis, enacting real change entails engaging the public on the issue, according to panelists at a recent forum sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute.

Medicare trustees last Tuesday projected insolvency for the program by 2019. Possible solutions include better financial incentives for providers, raising the age of eligibility, and income-related premiums for Medicare Part D, one panelist said. The physician payment system is an example of a reimbursement system that needs reform, the same panelist said.

While the government issued a "Medicare funding warning," the public may not react to it with concern because the problems seem far off in the future. As a result, politicians are not likely to address the crisis, panelists said. Earlier this year, President Bush proposed capping medical malpractice awards and charging wealthy beneficiaries more for their prescription drugs to curb Medicare spending.

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