Should Medicare be
Available for Everyone?
Do we really have a medical care problem? Those that have jobs with affordable medical coverage and seniors on Medicare don't have a problem. Unfortunately, about 50 million people in the United States do not have medical insurance and that is a big problem. Some of those get their medical services through welfare programs like Medicaid. Many of the rest go to an emergency room and do not pay the bill. Medical care expenses for those that get free care end up being paid by those that have insurance in form of higher rates. If you are paying for medical insurance you should be very interested in solving the medical care problem for those that don't as their freeloading makes you premium higher.
People consider Medicare a socialistic form of medicine. Are the socialistic forms of medical care in Canada and most of the European countries so terrible? In spite of all the negative information put out by the politicians and commercial health insurance lobby, socialized medicine in those countries is actually working pretty good. Their cost per person is far lower than ours and the medical health statistics for those countries (average age at death, infant mortality, etc.) is better than for the United States. Everyone has heard horror stories of people that have gotten poor service and even died in socialized medicine countries. That certainly happens there but it also happens right here in the good old USA and probably just as often. I have spent time with relatives and friends in more than one of those countries and they seem satisfied with their medical care. Don't be mislead by the insurance companies who fear losing their fat profits and the politicians who want payola from the insurance lobbyists.
The second misconception most people have is that Medicare is a terribly inefficient and costly program. There are many reports that show that Medicare provides good coverage at a considerably lower cost per person than the commercial insurance companies. A John Hopkins article stated that "Medicare beneficiaries are overwhelmingly satisfied with their Medicare coverage..." That same article noted that " The administrative costs of Medicare are lower than any other large health plan." and " Medicare is very efficient by any objective means..." News coverage of doctors and clinics that have fraudulently billed Medicare for millions of dollars indicates that Medicare is not perfect and, certainly, has some problems that need to be fixed. It should be noted, that commercial insurance companies have the same problem.
Obama Care was suposed to insure that everyone had medical insurance coverage. It may have started with good intentions but Obama caved in to the insurance companies which resulted in a health care law that does not solve our medical care crisis. Mostly, it provides more business for the insurance companies. It does not seem to be the answer to our medical care problems.
Currently only seniors are covered by Medicare. Even with their higher medical expenses, the Medicare trust fund takes in about the same amount of money that it spends for medical expenses. Actually, there is no such thing as a real "trust fund". It is just a bookkeeping exercise that keeps track of money collected from Medicare taxes the premiums paid by Medicare recipients. There has been a lot of talk about the Medicare trust fund going broke in a few years. That is misleading, it only means that if no changes are made the yearly Medicare expense will exceed its income. That can easily be fixed with an increase in the Medicare tax and/or premiums.
If Medicare was made available to everyone that would not mean that it would be free for everyone. Seniors getting Medicare have to pay monthly premiums of about $100 each. I think the premiums should be based on a persons financial situation. Those that can well afford it should pay higher premiums and those that can't should not have to pay as much. Those that have no income, or very little should not have to pay. It would take the place of Medicaid. That would be far better than having them run up big ER bills that are never paid. A higher Medicare tax would seem logical, now it is only 1.45 percent.
Currently a significant number of doctors are refusing to treat Medicare patients because of the very low Medicare payments. If everyone was on Medicare that problem can certainly be resolved. Doctors in the socialized medicine countries do make considerable less but they still do fine and have a higher standard of living than the general public in those countries.
The commercial insurance companies have shown for many years that they can not provide affordable medical insurance. Medicare can!
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