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September 21, 2012

Congressional challenger unveils ideas for revamping Medicare

(Continued)

But, Doheny, an investor from Watertown, said that private plans competing against traditional Medicare will have a strong incentive to root out waste, fraud and abuse to reduce costs.

INCREASE AGE

Doheny’s ideas also call for aligning Medicare incentives by combining Parts A (inpatient) and B (outpatient) into a single deductible to reduce the incentive for providers to push beneficiaries toward expensive hospitalizations.

He wants to explore incrementally increasing the Medicare eligibility age to 67 because Americans are living longer.

Doheny also wants to look at increasing caps on out-of-pocket costs for those with the ability to pay more.

“It makes no sense to consider raising taxes to pay for a continued subsidy for this group,” he said.

Doheny did say that the Part D program for prescription drugs should continue on a voluntary basis and that the so-called “doughnut hole” should remain closed. The doughnut hole is a gap in prescription-drug coverage that forces seniors to pay more out of pocket for drugs. 

REPLACE OBAMACARE

To further reduce debt, Doheny said, Congress should repeal and replace the Affordable Health Care Act, known to many as Obamacare, but keep health insurance up to age 26 for children; increase competition by allowing purchasing across state lines; help doctors reduce the cost of practicing medicine; improve doctor recruitment in rural areas; and give hospitals more flexibility.

Doheny said that raising the payroll tax by an immediate 47 percent to reduce the Medicare deficit, as has been discussed, would be devastating to the economy.

“I offer these ideas for addressing the challenge of the current Medicare crisis and look forward to a rational and spirited discussion as we work to save and protect this program so important to those that depend on it,” he said.

Email Joe LoTemplio: jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

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