Column: What could go wrong with Medicare for all?
"If it saves me money and everyone has coverage, I have no problem with it.”
Not a surprising response to the idea that President Trump might embrace Democrats lobbying for a “Medicare for All” universal health care plan.
“I’m a contractor. I’m a Republican,” the caller offered on my radio program.
Okay, so that part was a surprise.
A safety net for disabled Americans and people over 65 years old, you pay a little in and you get health insurance coverage. Want more coverage? Buy a Medicare supplement policy.
Medicare polls well, too, though most Americans do realize it’s a strain on the federal budget. What they may not know is just how much of a strain that is.
Already 15 percent of the federal budget and rising, Medicare is getting more expensive every year.
Looking at how it’s currently funded, adding to the existing 57 million people on Medicare would mean taxes and premiums are going to have to increase.
While researchers’ percentages vary, supporters like to point out that administrative costs of Medicare are from 2 to 5 percent of expenses, while the private insurance sector pays about 17 percent of expenses on administrative costs.
One might think this is a good reason to broaden Medicare, except for a couple of realities.
Much of Medicare’s administrative burden is handled by other agencies, and studies have shown that when all costs are factored in, Medicare actually costs more to administer than private insurance.
Keep in mind, private contractors already manage Medicare in most parts of the country, including the supposedly inefficient administrators at Cigna and Blue Cross.
Also, the liberal AARP recently published a report stating Medicare is the victim of over $60 billion in losses to fraud.
That’s $60 billion. With a “b.”
Adding millions more Americans would mean hiring more administrative staff to chase down even more fraud... or not.
There’s another serious problem with Medicare — It’s just about $33 trillion in debt.
That’s $33 trillion. With a “t.”
The U.S. mint “only” prints eight million, notes a day with a face value around $540 million. Since 95 percent of the notes printed each year are used to replace notes already in circulation, that means “only” 27 million, 50,000 of that is “new” money.
Just to print enough bills to cover that $33 trillion, the mint would have to buy enough printers to crank out 121,996 times more bills.
Maybe they could get a deal on Craigslist.
The bottom line is the bottom line. There is no perfect system, even though proponents claim universal health care, like the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, is perfectly peachy.
The NHS isn’t peachy at all. It’s failing.
Over 3.5 million patients are on waiting lists for doctor visits, treatments and surgeries, include very serious, life-saving operations.
Imagine if 89.9 percent of patients in the United States were waiting at least 18 weeks for life-saving surgeries and medical treatments.
Even worse, about 45 percent more British patients die in U.K. hospitals than U.S. patients do here.
There’s already talk of privatizing health care in the U.K. as Parliament squirms to raise taxes and considers a new “special” tax just for health care.
Hundreds of doctors’ offices have been shuttered, and there’s mind-numbing debate over eliminating some coverage, such as pain meds.
Their perfect universal health care plan isn’t just broke, it’s terminally ill, collapsing from an estimated $3 billion deficit. So, the government NHS panels try to save money by simply redefining what is necessary for your health care and what isn’t.
Patients are waiting months for surgeries and necessary pain meds may soon be ... not so “necessary.”
Medicare for all. What could possibly go wrong?