The Supreme Court’s upholding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) last month will likely benefit disability beneficiaries as much as it will Americans with health concerns. The reason is that the ACA makes important changes to Medicare and Medicaid funding, which have important links with each type of Social Security benefits.
Healthcare Reform Will Help Medicare and Social Security
Here are a few of the funding changes that the ACA will make:
- Increase funding for Medicare by a 0.9 percent tax increase for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and for married couples making more than $250,000 a year
- The increased funding will also come from taxes on investment income (from income like stock dividends, real estate rent and capital gains), but only for those whose investment income pushes their income above the limits in the previous bullet point
- Several changes will directly improve healthcare – incentives for hospitals and doctors to focus on quality rather than quantity, tying hospital funding to performance and best practices, and limits of how much of each dollar insurance providers can put towards administrative costs rather than healthcare
Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid spending is closely linked because those two programs are the largest portion of the mandatory spending of the federal government. About 30 percent of federal spending is discretionary, meaning Congress has to debate and approve it each year (this includes defense spending, for example). Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are, thus, the largest components of the entire budget, and the government must pay them each year without debate.
Trimming waste and improving the efficiency of healthcare will shore up Medicare/Medicaid’s funding. Mandatory programs will be less subject to political attack if they have no chance of running a deficit, and, on Wednesday, we will discuss more about how this helps Social Security beneficiaries.
Have health problems prevented you from working and supporting your family? Speak to one of our Tulsa SSI lawyers to learn whether you can qualify for SSI or SSDI benefits.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys