A much-debated topic on both sides of the political table, Medicare was protected from the late-summer debt-ceiling cuts, in part because the program impacts an influential group of voters. With round two of the talks fast approaching, however, it may soon be back on the chopping block.
The new congressional “super committee” is working to acheive $1.5 trillion in budget cuts by Thanksgiving. Medicare makes up nearly 23 percent of the federal budget, which means that there are almost certain to be some changes to the program. Some of the most recent proposals include: limits to federal spending; raising the eligibility age; changing the premium support program; eliminating first-dollar coverage Medigap plans, like Medigap Part F; restructuring cost-sharing; cutting expenditures by changing the Part D drug benefit; and increasing advisory board power.