In a recent analysis piece distributed by Reuters, journalist Kim Dixon stated that health insurers, specifically HMOs, are likely to remain an integral part of the Medicare system for many years, even if the next President of the United States is a Democrat.
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HMO involvement in Medicare became prominent under current President, George W. Bush. Currently, more than twenty percent of the 44 million people covered by Medicare, the federally funded insurance for the elderly and disabled, get their coverage from companies like Humana, Inc, and according to experts, that figure is likely to reach twenty-five percent within the next few years, which will make it a challenge to institute any major changes to the program.
In an investor note, Carl McDonald, a health-care analyst at Oppenheimer & Co said, “Not only does this add millions more voices to the discussion, it also dramatically increases the number of members of Congress with a vested interest in maintaining the current benefits.”
Meanwhile, the leading Democratic contenders for the presidency are focusing on expanding Medicare coverage, which would result in an increased private sector role in government-funded health programs, rather than decreasing such practices.
Analysts from Wall Street are predicting that private plans will continue to grow at least for the next two years (through 2010), as the market expands to accommodate baby boomers who are reaching retirement age.