[This is one of a series of postings featuring the history of Texas Forums prior to November 2006. These photos were retrieved for the NIF 25th anniversary celebration and are being posted here for those who are new to Texas Forums and want to know more about us. For more entries about our history, go to our History Category Page.]
Big Choices Medicare Forum Moderated by Texas Forums
Originally uploaded by TexasTaylor
On April 22, 2004, volunteers from Texas Forums moderated a forum on “The Medicare Burden: how can we ensure health care coverage for older Americans?” for the Big Choices Symposium hosted by the LBJ Library, the UT Center for Health and Social Policy and LBJ Future Forum.
Participants were recruited from:
- Third Age, part of the University of Texas at Austin’s Continuing Education Program for senior adults (over 60 years of age).
- Future Forum, an LBJ affiliate that seeks to expand the involvement of young Texans with the LBJ Library and to foster greater civic involvement within the community (typically ranging in age from 25 to 45).
- LBJ School of Public Affairs graduate students in Professor Ken Apfel’s course “Pensions and Health Care in the 21st Century.”
Participants deliberated three approaches to Medicare using a discussion guide prepared for this event:
Approach 1 Defined Benefit—The Government as the Insurer Shared Costs/Greater Negotiating Power
Approach 2 Defined Contribution—Private Health Insurance Companies as Insurers: Choose Providers, Not Insurers
Approach 3 Raising Revenue—We All Pay for the Benefits We Want: Not an Approach, but a Reality
Following is a summary of the findings from these forums, but an online draft of the full report, which will be published as a book chapter is available here.
- Participants acknowledged that Medicare would have to be changed, but said that the current system reflected their values of fairness and an elderly person’s right to a basic level of health care.
- Participants wanted to see a greater emphasis on prevention in our health care system and expressed a willingness to endorse more prevention programs within Medicare.
- Participants recognized that some level of rationing is necessary in order to provide health care services for all elderly people; however, they were cautious about how rationing would be implemented and insisted that it should not be based on ability to pay.
- Participants strongly believed that government involvement is the best way to share costs across a larger pool of participants and ensure coverage for everyone. They were concerned that shifting coverage to private insurers would leave the sickest and poorest in the government pool.
- Participants would not support policies or plans that limited their choice of health care providers.
- Being able to choose health insurance plans was not a high priority for the participants, and they were skeptical that competition among providers would result in lower health care costs.
- Participants firmly acknowledged that health care costs were going to increase and that we would have to pay more, but both the elderly and the youth in the forums were concerned about the impact that raising revenue would have on the other generation.
To see more photos from this event, check out our Flickr Medicare Photo Album.