By 2030, traditional Medicare (TM) as we know it, particularly those of us who depend on it for our health care, just might cease to exist, marking the end point of fifty years of attempted privatization and the gradual transfer of Medicare’s Trust Funds and their management to private for-profit insurance companies. Lots of money is at stake – over $900 billion in benefits were paid in 2020 to almost 63 million subscribers. Wall Street private equity firms are salivating.
Backstory: How did this happen? Can it be stopped? It began soon after the Medicare program became law in 1965, enacted to ensure that older Americans would have ready access to good health care as they aged and became ill. By 1973, Medicare had proved so popular that Nixon identified rising health care costs as a serious budget problem and took the following steps to contain them: