I turned 65 two years ago and went on Medicare. Medicare costs me less that $100 a month. It is an excellent system that works hand-in-hand with insurance companies. I have a supplemental policy with Secure Horizons for another $75 a month. Secure Horizons is considered so good, it is now backed by AARP.
This combined system provides different levels of coverage depending on what you can afford, and does not compete with medical insurance companies. More people need to understand this.
Private insurance companies offer supplemental policies to Medicare to cover prescription drugs, services that are not covered by Medicare like dentistry, and the difference in price between what the Doctor charges and what Medicare pays.
A person who cannot afford much can get basic Medicare coverage and either pay the difference to the doctor out of pocket or find a doctor willing to accept what Medicare pays.
Middle class individuals who can afford the supplemental policy, or get it through their employer, can get increased benefits. These supplemental policies are not very expensive and cost less than full coverage from private insurers now. It would be much more cost-effective for businesses to pay for supplemental insurance instead for full private coverage, which would be very helpful in today's business climate.
A third tier could be offered to anyone who could afford Platinum coverage, which would pay for high-end special care like the Mayo Clinic. So there would be two options for private insurers to continue to get plenty of business, and three options for citizens to get the coverage they can afford.
The reason Medicare is going broke is because not enough people are in it and the people who are, are the aging population who need the most costly medical care. If everyone was in the basic program, the costs would be spread out over younger, healthier people the way private insurance is.