Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

senate Bill S. 3560

Should Individuals Be Able to Opt Out of Medicare Part A Without Losing Social Security Benefits?

Argument in favor

Senior citizens should be able to choose the healthcare plan that best suits their needs. Currently, Medicare can make it difficult for senior citizens to go to their preferred doctors. Automatically enrolling all senior citizens into Medicare Part A is also expensive, so this bill would help reduce the fiscal strain on Medicare.

Bob's Opinion
···
11/18/2018
Nobody should ever be forced to purchase anything against their will.
Like (88)
Follow
Share
Gloria's Opinion
···
11/18/2018
If people can afford private insurance that provides more options they should be allowed to opt out of Medicare. I also believe that members of Congress should have the same health insurance options as they legislate for the public which might force them to be more cognitive of what they are legislating.
Like (28)
Follow
Share
···
11/18/2018
Should goods and services be provided voluntarily, rather than through coercion? Yes, of course. I cannot imagine how someone could claim to have an ethical defense for saying No to this. "I'm fully human with rights and liberties and self-ownership, and so are you - until you use those in a way I think you shouldn't. Then you're a mere object that I get to overrule and impose my will on. Because I'm ethical." You're not ethical, and nothing you accomplish by these means can ever be truly just.
Like (20)
Follow
Share

Argument opposed

Medicare is intended to be a mandatory social safety net program, and allowing individuals to opt out undermines its financial stability. It also could be seen as a precursor to privatizing Medicare or making other reforms to the entitlement program that impact the level of care current or future beneficiaries receive.

Christopher's Opinion
···
11/18/2018
It’s just like another disingenuous attempt to subvert healthcare for the profit of a few. Don’t fall into this naive trap and chip away at Medicare. The GOP don’t stand for financial responsibility, they stand for special interests and more often themselves.
Like (156)
Follow
Share
Thelma's Opinion
···
11/18/2018
Ted Cruz is sponsoring this bill, folks. Anything written by Cruz with the word freedom in it means the people are going to be screwed. Medicare is a social safety net. There should be no opt out - this is confusing, and before you know it, people who need this money will be signing away their lives without understanding this. Let Mr. Cruz opt out of his taxpayer funded insurance first.
Like (141)
Follow
Share
IllWill's Opinion
···
11/18/2018
This is just a backdoor attempt to begin privatizing Medicare! It makes no sense to opt out of Medicare Part A to begin with since you’re not paying a premium. The intent of bill is quite clear: undermine the social safety net for the elderly.
Like (112)
Follow
Share

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Finance
    IntroducedOctober 9th, 2018

What is Senate Bill S. 3560?

This bill — the Retirement Freedom Act — would allow seniors to opt out of Medicare Part A but still collect Social Security benefits. Currently, opting out of Medicare Part A (which covers hospital, in-patient, nursing home, hospice, and some in-home care) makes senior citizens ineligible to collect Social Security benefits.

Impact

Senior citizens; and Medicare Part A.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 3560

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced this bill to empower senior citizens and create more healthcare options by allowing seniors to utilize private health insurance without losing their Social Security benefits:

“For too long, Social Security has been wrongly tied to Medicare Part A enrollment. Seniors all across the country should be empowered with the freedom to choose a health insurance plan that fits their needs, without the fear of losing their Social Security benefits. [This bill will] empower America’s seniors with healthcare freedom, as Congress continues to deliver on our promises.”

The 60-Plus Association supports this bill. Its founder and Chairman, James Martin, argues that this bill gives senior citizens healthcare choices while also reducing financial strains on Medicare:

“Senior citizens should not be forced by the federal government to choose between the right health care and receiving their Social Security benefits. For too long, retirees have been required to enroll in Medicare Part A in order to preserve their earned Social Security. That’s not right and Senator Ted Cruz’s Retirement Freedom Act frees seniors from this requirement. This legislation would give seniors the freedom to choose a private health care plan that better suits their medical needs than Medicare Part A, without losing out on the Social Security benefits they’ve earned through a lifetime of paying payroll taxes. By giving seniors this option, it would also ease the financial strains on the Medicare system by reducing the number of enrollees.”

Conservative activist group FreedomWorks’ president, Adam, Brandon, supports this bill, arguing that it addresses “liberty and individual choice” in healthcare:

“At its core, the Retirement Freedom Act is about liberty and individual choice to expand Americans’ ability to make health care decisions for themselves free from government overreach. However, it is also a positive step toward reforming our broken entitlement system, which continues to drive our national debt further and further up, to the $21.5 trillion it sits at today. When Medicare began in 1965, mandatory spending at $49.1 billion made up just under 28 percent of the total $178.1 billion federal budget. In 2017, mandatory spending at $2.518 trillion consumed over double that percentage -- 63 percent of the $3.981 trillion federal budget.
This type of spending is unsustainable and is driven in large part by exorbitant spending on Medicare. By simply allowing individuals who do not want to receive benefits from Medicare Part A to opt out of it, our country can save billions of taxpayer dollars and begin to slow the growth of unchecked entitlement programs that have driven us so deeply into debt… [I]f only one percent of eligible seniors opt out of Medicare Part A under this change, we will see an immediate savings of $1.5 billion. Enhancing health care freedom and saving taxpayer dollars while taking a much needed step toward Medicare solvency is a common sense measure for our elected officials to enact.”

This bill has one cosponsor, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). In addition to the 60-Plus Association and FreedomWorks, the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) also supports this bill.


Of NoteMedicare Part A is the hospital insurance portion of Medicare. It covers Medicare inpatient care, including care received while in a hospital; nursing home care; some instances of in-home care; and hospice care. Most senior citizens are automatically eligible for Medicare Part A at age 65 if they’re already collecting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits.

Currently, opting out of Medicare Part A renders a senior citizen ineligible to collect Social Security. If a senior citizen has already started collecting Social Security, they’d be responsible for refunding all Social Security money they’d previously received. This rule is the result of the ruling in Hall v. Sebelius, in which three retired federal employees receiving Social Security retirement benefits wanted to drop their Medicare Part A coverage. 

The ruling was against the retirees, citing the original law Congress enacted when creating the Medicare program. In that ruling, the judge said that “requiring a mechanism for plaintiffs and others in their situation to ‘dis-enroll’ would be contrary to congressional intent, which was to provide ‘mandatory’ benefits under Medicare Part A for those receiving Social Security Retirement benefits."

Currently, few seniors opt out of Medicare Part A because doing so would affect their Social Security benefits. However, it’s unclear that many seniors want to opt out of Medicare Part A to begin with, as it doesn’t have a premium.

Some senior citizens on Medicare do find, however, that they may have limited choices of doctors with Medicare versus private insurance. In a 2013 poll of Angie’s List members on Medicare, one-third of respondents said they’d contacted a doctor who either didn’t accept Medicare or new Medicare patients.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Bill Oxford)

AKA

Retirement Freedom Act

Official Title

A bill to allow individuals to choose to opt out of the Medicare part A benefit.

    Nobody should ever be forced to purchase anything against their will.
    Like (88)
    Follow
    Share
    It’s just like another disingenuous attempt to subvert healthcare for the profit of a few. Don’t fall into this naive trap and chip away at Medicare. The GOP don’t stand for financial responsibility, they stand for special interests and more often themselves.
    Like (156)
    Follow
    Share
    Ted Cruz is sponsoring this bill, folks. Anything written by Cruz with the word freedom in it means the people are going to be screwed. Medicare is a social safety net. There should be no opt out - this is confusing, and before you know it, people who need this money will be signing away their lives without understanding this. Let Mr. Cruz opt out of his taxpayer funded insurance first.
    Like (141)
    Follow
    Share
    This is just a backdoor attempt to begin privatizing Medicare! It makes no sense to opt out of Medicare Part A to begin with since you’re not paying a premium. The intent of bill is quite clear: undermine the social safety net for the elderly.
    Like (112)
    Follow
    Share
    Very few, and increasingly less, senior citizens have other health care options. Even if they do, they can use it as their secondary insurance which really reduces their health care costs. This bill isn’t about freedom and dignity in health care. It’s about helping for profit health care make a bigger buck.
    Like (73)
    Follow
    Share
    Medicare is intended to be a safety net program and allowing individuals to opt out will undermine its financial stability. We have already seen how much more expensive healthcare gets when people aren't required to have it. Until we have a public, universal option available as an alternative, the mandatory aspect of public programs like Medicare must be upheld to keep their costs down.
    Like (43)
    Follow
    Share
    This is just a method for rich individuals to not pay into medicare hence de-funding it further.
    Like (33)
    Follow
    Share
    This is another attempt by the Repugnacants to strip people of their EARNED benefits. Universal single payer healthcare, cradle to grave.
    Like (32)
    Follow
    Share
    We are our brothers and sisters keepers. We are all in this together. Nobody should be able to opt out of Part A or B. To do so would defund the insurance people rely on. The government DOES NOT screw up everything it is involved in. Through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services it administers very efficiently the Medicare program for 55 million Americans. You pay into Medicare all your working life, as well as into Social Security which is another well administered program. Medicare uses private medical professionals to deliver the services which it pays for. Go to providers, hospitals, clinics, labs of your choice. Additionally there are about 10 Medigap plans you can choose from to supplement deductibles and co-pays. These are plans provided by private insurers at competitive prices. Everything is in place to extend Medicare to all Americans of all ages. So what's the problem? Lack of willingness for political parties to come together and support a solution the Americans truly want. I've been on Medicare for thirteen years and I love it. Administering universal healthcare by extending Medicare to all Americans is the way to go. We can start by lowering the age from 65 to 55. Then phase everybody in gradually over time. Legislators should be talking about opting in, not out, of Medicare.
    Like (30)
    Follow
    Share
    If people can afford private insurance that provides more options they should be allowed to opt out of Medicare. I also believe that members of Congress should have the same health insurance options as they legislate for the public which might force them to be more cognitive of what they are legislating.
    Like (28)
    Follow
    Share
    Ted Cruz... yeah no. I read the bill but from the point that I saw the sponsor I knew that there was no reason or good in it. That Congress critter is only trying to rip the social safety net apart. F that.
    Like (26)
    Follow
    Share
    Medicare works well, and allowing opt outs will result in the failure of the Medicare system for older Americans. I am less than a year away from Medicare eligibility, and given the cost of other health insurance I want to make sure it is available for me as well as older Americans and my children.
    Like (26)
    Follow
    Share
    Should goods and services be provided voluntarily, rather than through coercion? Yes, of course. I cannot imagine how someone could claim to have an ethical defense for saying No to this. "I'm fully human with rights and liberties and self-ownership, and so are you - until you use those in a way I think you shouldn't. Then you're a mere object that I get to overrule and impose my will on. Because I'm ethical." You're not ethical, and nothing you accomplish by these means can ever be truly just.
    Like (20)
    Follow
    Share
    This a shell game sponsored by Ted Cruz to undermine Medicare. No one in their right mind would opt out of Medicare part A. That is what all your premiums pay for. Part B is when you start to pay 20%. Do you really believe a tea party favorite is acting on behalf of the common man? It doesn’t pass the smell test. Ted’s goals haven’t changed, don’t be fooled.
    Like (19)
    Follow
    Share
    Leave social security and Medicare alone. Cruz and others are out to destroy it
    Like (19)
    Follow
    Share
    These are just bills designed to undermine the fundamentals of SS and the ACA.
    Like (18)
    Follow
    Share
    What's the real goal here. Is it to make sure that those who turn 65 can have an affordable plan for the remaining years of their life? I rather doubt it. Right now the country is faced with a perfect storm of a president that cares only about himself and a republican senate that has someone that will say all those nasty things that they're to gutless to say out loud. Enough said. Just leave our ability to care for ourselves and loved ones for what the few precious years we have remaining.
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    Only the rich can afford to “opt out”
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    Realizing how few Americans know how to plan for the future I see that coverage as a necessity, not an option.
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    I have paid for my Medicare and social security my entire working life. I deserve my full monthly stipend of both and no one should be able to opt out. What many people do not understand is that if you get sick with no insurance, you could lose everything.
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    MORE