The best way to save the floundering Medicare is to expand it, claim supporters of a single-payer national health system. Among the key proponents for "Medicare for All" are Reps. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Their push, undiminished since such a plan was rejected during health care reform debates, would, as presented in an open letter to constituents and Congress, "provide all Americans with health care that would allow access to the doctor of choice without premiums, co-pays or deductibles."
One idea floated to bail out medicare, as well as Social Security, is as simple as it is bound to be unpopular: raise taxes. Such a call would surely not be supported by Republicans who, following the Ryan plan, would nevertheless call for "means testing" -- limiting or eliminating the benefits the wealthiest could recoup via Medicare. Among the more controversial tax measures touted for deficit reduction and the preservation of entitlement programs was a 0.25% tax on trades of stocks, bonds, derivatives and other financial instruments. Such a tax, proponents say, could raise as much as $150 billion annually. While the Ryan plan promotes further tax breaks for high earners, it does call for means testing that would limit the ability of the wealthiest families to participate in the Medicare program equally with lower-income families.