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Business Research Methods, Part I Medicare is health insurance servicing people ages 65 or older, ages under 65 with certain disabilities, and any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or kidney transplant (Medicare, 2011). According to the US Census Bureau 65 years old and 85 years old population will increase significantly in 2030 and 2050 respectively. “The over 65 group will be twice as large. It will grow from 35 million, 12 percent of the US in 2000, to 71.5 million, and 20 percent of the total US population in 2030. The US Census Bureau projects that the population age 85 will grow from 5.3 million in 2006 to nearly 21 million by 2050” (Recht, 2009). In 2010 the U.S. Census Bureau reported an estimated population of 39 million for ages 65 and over (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012). Problem Statement The projected increase in the 65 years old and 85 years old population will have significant impact on Medicare. Will Medicare has enough resources or sufficient funding to cover the increase in the 65 years old population in 2030? Will Medicare has enough resources or sufficient funding to cover the increase in the 85 years old population in 2050?
Research Questions Will the Medicare system be able to provide adequate funding to cover both age groups through 2050 and beyond? According to the 2011 Medicare trustee report (CMS.gov, 2011), Medicare has a higher rate of income than expenditures through 2020 under current law; however, after 2020 a projected deficit in the Medicare systems presents government officials with some challenges to keep the system functional. The primary reason for Medicare’s lack of revenues and resources after 2020 comes from inflation rate medical costs and the increasing number of Medicare enrollees because of longevity. Medicare’s dilemma is how to prevent expenditures exceeding income and the following questions need be asked to fulfill the objectives of eliminating this dilemma: (1) How the government can ensure that Medicare program can support future Medicare enrollees? (2) What are the major issues of high Medicare expenditures? (3) How the government can secure enough funds to cover eligible Medicare enrollees in 2050 and beyond? (4) Should Medicare use competitive market system? (5) Should the government use foreign medical providers to save funds?
Data Needed A critical challenge is how to finance care for future generations without unduly burdening beneficiaries, taxpayers, or the general economy. Another pressing issue relates to the role of private plans in Medicare in light of rapid enrollment growth in recent years, and concerns about the current payment system for private plans. A third issue is the relatively new Medicare prescription drug benefit and how to address concerns about its current structure and further limit the burden of prescription drug spending. There is the challenge to make health and long-term care more affordable for beneficiaries.
Population and Sample The important decisions to make when making a sample are: determining the sampling population; determining the parameters of interest; determining the sampling frame; determining the appropriate sampling methods; and determining the sample size needed (Cooper & Schindler, 2006). The sampling population refers to the population that should be researched to gather data for the individuals over 65 years of age, etc. The parameters of interest are summary descriptors of variables of interest in the population e.g. perceived quality of care. Sampling frame refers to the list of elements from which the sample is drawn i.e., the correct list of population members age 65 and over. The Official US Government Medicare Bureau as well as requested Social Security Medicare Card provides this type of data. Sampling size refers to the size of the samples needed to complete the study as accurately and precise as possible (Cooper & Schindler, 2006).
Data Collection The looming depletion of Medicare funds is a topic of debate among old, young, Republican, or Democrat; each one has their opinion on the issue. The numbers are alarming and only bring the idea of a generation without Medicare more real. The data is everywhere. The idea is where to collect the data and additionally how to do it. The Census Bureau decides to take the method of surveying as a means of data collection for their researching purposes. The Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (United States Census Bureau Health Insurance Data, 2011) both serve as the purpose of data collection and population focus for the Census Bureau and in this case the Medicare issue. Although time consuming and partially inconvenient for the participants, the surveys have proven to provide the most accurate of information amongst the different population for any given topic which in our case is healthcare (Medicare in particular). This form of data collection is most often distributed by means of the United States mail and collected in the same manner. For an increased response, there are representatives that come to households that have yet to provide the needed information. Once the data collected has been input in the systems database the information provided to the public like that of what we saw in the provided article is available for publication. Interesting how the data collection works.
Conclusion
According to the 2011 Medicare trustee report, Medicare can provide sufficient services to its beneficiaries through 2020 under current law; however, a projected deficit is foreseen after 2020 based on prediction of increasing numbers of Medicare enrollees and rapidly increasing expenditures. The Medicare officials' dilemma is how to reserve an adequate amount of funds without burdening the taxpayers and providing sufficient services to its beneficiaries at the same time or even find a way to reduce costs. Identifying the exact dilemma can lead to an opportunity; therefore, conducting research is the best option to eliminate the dilemma. Team D has developed a set of required steps to conduct research into identifying the underlining problems and will identify appropriate a solution(s) to eliminate the dilemma.

References:
CMS.gov. (2011). 2011 Medicare trustees report. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/ReportsTrustFunds.
Cooper, D.R., & Schindler, P.S. (2006). Business research methods (9th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Medicare, (2011). What is Medicare? Retrieved from http://www.medicare.gov/publications/pubs/pdf/11306.pdf
Recht, Milton. (2009). The US Medicare Financial Problem. Retrieved from http://misunderstoodfinance.blogspot.com/2009/05/us-medicare-financial-problem.html
U.S. Census Bureau. (2012). Population: Elderly, Racial, and Hispanic Origin Population Profiles. Persons 65 Years Old and Over. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0034.pdf
United States Census Bureau Health Insurance Data. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/hlthins/data/index.html

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