Students will be able to:
- Analyze data and documents associated with the creation of Medicare.
- Compare statements both for and against the program.
- Analyze how those who supported and opposed Medicare in the early and mid-1960s would have responded to the question posed by the essential dilemma.
In this economics lesson, students will learn that Medicare was the fulfillment of what was believed to be Social Security.
Is Medicare built to last?
- Why is Medicare funding problematic?
- What solutions are there to fix Medicare?
It is important to note that this inquiry requires prerequisite knowledge of government funding procedures, the creation and original purpose of Medicare and Medicare’s role in modern society.
Staging the Compelling Question
To stage the compelling question, view a clip from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1:03-2:08) from 2004 about Medicare funding. After watching, have students share what problems Jon Stewart highlights about Medicare funding. Then, lead students in a source analysis of the clip. Potential questions teachers can pose to the class are: When was the clip made and what guesses can we make about Medicare funding today? Why was Jon Stewart discussing Medicare and what can that tell us about the problems with Medicare? After discussing this clip, teachers will present the compelling question—Is Medicare Built to Last? —to students and explain that they will begin investigating to problems and solutions with Medicare funding.
Supporting Question 1: Why is Medicare Funding Problematic?
The formative task asks students to create a list of problems with Medicare funding based on multiple sources.
The following sources were selected to give students multiple perspectives on Medicare funding. The first featured source is a description of the three revenue streams of Medicare. Featured Source B is a bar graph from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation that breaks down the three main revenue streams of Medicare and how funding has changed since the 1970s. Featured Source C is an article describing how Medicare is funded and could be funded going forward into the future. The final featured source is a political cartoon depicting an elderly man approaching a drop-off signifying the end of Medicare funding in the near future.
Teachers may implement this task by providing a graphic organizer for students to list out the problems with Medicare funding. Additionally, teachers may wish to provide scaffolding questions to help students interpret the sources.
Supporting Question 2: What Solutions are There to Fix Medicare?
The formative task asks students to summarize how well the proposed solutions solve the problems of Medicare.
Teachers may implement this task by providing a graphic organizer for students to list out possible solutions to fix Medicare funding. Additionally, teachers may wish to provide scaffolding questions to help students interpret the sources.
Students should be able to demonstrate their understandings of the problems and solutions and the impact this has on the future of Medicare and use evidence from multiple sources to support their claims. In this task, students construct an evidence-based argument responding to the compelling question “Is Medicare Built to Last?” It is important to note that students’ arguments could take a variety of forms, including a detailed outline, poster, or essay.
Students’ arguments will likely vary, but could include any of the following:
- Medicare is built to last, but our government needs to cut benefits.
- Medicare is built to last, but our government needs to find new sources of funding.
- Medicare needs to fundamentally change if it wants to last.
To support students in their writing, teachers can provide an argument organizer in which students will breakdown their argument before writing in their claim, evidence and reasoning.
To extend their arguments, students create a short film about the future of Medicare assessing proposed solutions to Medicare’s funding problems. In this, students would research a solution to Medicare funding and present why that solution is a viable option to preserve Medicare for future recipients.