We depend on the government to pass laws that are good for the people of this great country. And many laws that get passed do a great job of that. But one requirement of a law to be of any benefit to people is that we, the people, must be able to understand it.
When it comes to this vast legal system called “Medicare”, the best way we can compliment the work of our government in making it understandable is, “Well, their hearts are in the right place.” Medicare is a system that was designed to help the elderly with their medical bills at a time of life when that help is needed the most. All cynicism aside, it is a system of laws that obeys that edit of seeing the government try to do the best for the people it serves.
Many of us find Medicare confusing. And when laws are confusing, it is easy to think that this was done on purpose to keep people from taking advantage of the system. In the case of Medicare, it is more likely that the system become complex because the medical system is itself complex due to the large amount of needs people have, especially in their senior years and the vast amount of options that the medical community puts at their disposal.
One good innovation that the government made standard in Medicare is that every citizen is automatically eligible as soon as they reach retirement age. There is no questioning on who qualifies because if you meet the requirement of citizenship, you have a chance to participate in the program. If we are seeking to simplify Medicare, we would have to first divide into three parts so we can separate what each part does and how it benefits the people it serves.
The first part of Medicare kicks in to cover hospital expenses in case there is need for that level of care. Medicare covers a wide range of services that you might need during hospitalization including room and meals, nursing and other hospital services that are needed during your time in the hospital. The hospitalization benefit doesn’t end when you drive away from the building. Medicare also covers home health services you might need during recuperation as well as equipment such as wheelchairs and in home needs of the disabled and hospice services for care during end of life situations. Millions have benefited from this part of Medicare’s coverage so by itself it may justify the existence of Medicare.
You may have noticed that the first part of Medicare did not cover the actual medical costs of the care you receive. Part B of Medicare kicks in to help out with those costs. Under this second area of Medicare, doctors bills are covered as well medical procedures needed during your hospital stay, medicine, ambulance care if that is needed and even physical therapy the doctor may prescribe to aid in your recovery. Again, this aspect of Medicare has benefited millions of the citizens and it often very much needed for the elderly struggling with health issues.
For a long time all Medicare coverage fit into one of these two categories. But there has been significant work done on Medicare law of late. So in 2006, a third category was introduced to deal with the cost of prescription drugs. This is a good step forward giving Medicare recipients more choices in what drugs they need and who they will get them from.
There is little doubt that Medicare will continue to be updated and improved to serve the needs of the elderly population. Hopefully we will always be able to say that lawmakers have their hearts in the right place and that they are making laws that we can use and that we can understand as well.