NationalReview Magazine's 20 June The Week item “Republicans and Medicare” says of Medicare “The program is popular.” Some background may explain that popularity:
Medicare is paid out of the US general fund. That fund got its biggest boost in history from the ratification of the 17th amendment, which required every citizen to send a check to the Treasury every March 15 to pay a tax on their annual income. This crucial link was broken by the 1943 Current Tax Payment act moving this check writing responsibility from the 90% of individual citizens who are wage earners to employers. If the check doesn't get to the feds, the employer goes to jail, never the wage earner.
But the act also required the employer to give each wage earner a written statemnt with every pay check effectivly saying “You earned, and your employer paid,” so not only are wage earners not sending in any actual dollars, they are continually remindeed that if it wasn't for the feds, the wage earner would have got the money. Dream on.
Even more invidiously, since every employer is required to send in this tax, they have no competitive incentive to do anything other than add it to the price of their product.
This has resulted in the 2011 Statistical Abstract of the United States showing in 2009, 37% of all personal income taxes came from employer bank accounts. Social Security works under the same scam – adding in that 36.1%, you get nearly ¾ of all federal income coming from a silent, painless national sales tax.
Fixing this scam would not need a Constitutional Amendment, only a majority of the House of reps, 60 Senators, and a President with backbone enough to change the US Tax code from "every employer making payment of wages shall deduct and withhold upon such wages a tax..." to "every employer making payment of wages shall pay all of those wages to the employee...." The employer would still calculate the tax, including a note: "Here is how much the feds are expecting you personally to send in within 30 days"
A final assault on credulity: National Review Magazine writes 147 words on Medicare, not a one even a hint of questioning where in The United States Constitution there is justification for it.
I've lived in Detroit, St Louis, Kansas City, Pittsburgh PA, Marblehead MA. Worked as tech rep in Southern CA, Bay area, NYC, I've been to Europe a dozen times (Ireland, UK, Scotland, Sweden, Finland, Belgium.
Favorite restaurants are Gene & Georgetti's in Chicago, Roma Cafe in Detroit, Frankie and Johnie's in NYC, Rigazzi's on the hill in St. Louis (Also Charlie Gitto's, was Angelo's when I went there.)
For about a year I had small offices in Clayton MO, in the Country Club Plaza in KC. I rode a ten-speed bike around Lake Michigan (The bottom half in one week in June 1978, another week for the top half in 1980, used the Badger both times.
Don't get to travel much anymore, but still try to rent a car and go around the Lake in March every year. Sure, there's still snow, and it's not warm, OTOH there are no bugs and no toursts. Greatest little tavern in the world is Sherry's Port Bar in Garden UP MI