Republican Senators Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Richard Burr of North Carolina have introduced a new plan that aims to overhaul the federal Medicare program. The Senators’ plan is quite ambitious and would have a major impact on all people receiving health insurance coverage through the federal program. As such, the overhaul plan has generated a fair amount of controversy. Both Senators claim that this is an opportunity to open up “grown-up” conversations between legislators and consumers and find resolutions for the problems that face Medicare.
The overhaul plan seeks to expedite Medicare’s transformation into a program composed of private insurers. The plan will also impose higher premiums for retirees and raise the age of eligibility. Senator Coburn believes that Medicare is one of the most important problems facing the U.S. currently and has accused his fellow legislators of ignoring the faulty system in favor of less important work.
Any significant changes to the Medicare program would have an effect on the 49 million people currently receiving coverage through it. Because of this, legislators have been shy of taking action on the program’s problems for fear that they could do more damage than good. Despite its controversy, the Coburn-Burr plan, as it is being called, has a fair amount of bipartisan support and may succeed in its goal of forcing federal lawmakers to address the issue of Medicare.