Senate Finance Committee Chair, Max Baucus (D-MT), has proposed a health care overhaul plan that would allow U.S. residents ages 55 to 64 to buy into the Medicare system. The provision calls for a higher monthly premium for beneficiaries younger than age 65, but would offer the same benefits. Baucus said the buy-in option would remain available until the government develops a more comprehensive plan to address health care reform.
Senator Baucus’ health care plan, which many view as the starting point for comprehensive health care reform, has called for lawmakers to make the Medicare buy-in immediately available.
There is a thought that expanding the current system could help cut down on government spending by preventing more costly conditions in the future. “Opening Medicare to Americans in their late 50s or early 60s would help prevent serious health conditions from deteriorating and resulting in higher costs to Medicare once those people turn 65,” said Stuart Guterman, a policy analyst at the Commonwealth Fund. (McClatchy/Charleston Gazette).
Currently, colorectal cancer screenings are covered under Medicare (65+), but the approved guidelines state that regular screenings should begin at 50. That’s a 15 year gap! Studies have shown that the savings to Medicare from catching the disease early, instead of treating a late stage patient, would be in the billions of dollars.