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Wed

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Jul

2009

What's Wrong with Extending Medicare for All Americans? How Much Profiteering Is Really Needed?
Wednesday, 22 July 2009 10:57
by Peter Stern

Private health care insurance is bleeding Americans dry. Approximately 40 percent of Americans are without health insurance. Another way of looking at that fact is that "You can't get blood from a stone."

Some in the Washington Capitol want to develop and implement a totally new health care program to insure all Americans. Some critics say that all is needed to reduce current health care costs is to approve legislation that provides malpractice reform and reduces the burden of the paper work. The message is that developing and implementing such a "safety net" for the health care industry and for doctors/providers would save significantly on the cost of health care, which is naive at best.

Two years ago, here in Texas, Gov. Rick Perry and state lawmakers pushed legislation for health care / medical malpractice reform that was approved by the legislature and then approved by Texans in a special election. The "theory" was that doing so would save millions for the industry and in turn for patients re: their medical and health care costs. While the new laws did protect and save money for the industry and providers, health care costs and premiums continue to rise dramatically for insured Texans.

In fact, the ever-increasing costs are causing more employers to cut back or completely drop health care plans for their employees. There are a large number of Texans who no longer can afford to keep their health plans, while the number of Texans without health insurance continues to escalate. A major concern is that 40 percent of Texas children are without health care coverage. Obviously, the approved medical malpractice reform legislation did little to reduce health care costs. In fact, health plan premiums continue to increase.

Furthermore, current health care plans do NOT cover all expenses; consequently, a secondary insurance is needed to cover costs not paid for by the primary plan. Very few Texans can afford to purchase and maintain two health care plans.

One of the big concerns and a large contributing factor to high and increasing health care costs and premiums is the cost of providing health care and/or ER services to uninsured Americans, to legal and illegal immigrants who have no coverage. The cost of providing health services to these segments of the population is consistently more than any issues relating to malpractice pay-outs and/or the burden of paper work issues.

In the U.S. there are 12 million illegal immigrants, who at one time or another will need medical services that they can not and do not pay for. The result is that either taxpayers finance those services or the burden for payment is diverted from the health providers onto those who pay for their own health care via increased premiums. Most health care plans increase premiums every 6 or 12 months for various reason, including that of maintaining or increasing high profits.


As for health care reform in Washington, what is wrong with modifying or tweaking Medicare and extending it to all Americans? Part of the reason may be that the medical and health care industries fear a 30 percent cut in profits. That may be the foremost reason Congress does not want to extend Medicare.

Currently, many doctors will not take Medicare patients. Many do not take NEW Medicare patients, while many doctors do not accept any new patients at all --- whether or not they may have their own private insurance. There are reasons for these actions --- not the least being that Medicare often cuts its payment to providers by 30 percent.

There are many more significant problems within our health care system than the issues of medical malpractice and the burden of excessive paper work. Yes, these issues may be inherent in the system, but they are not the most important and more costly factors.

While Medicare may contain some problems and issues, it is a health care system that works for most Americans. So, why not modify the program and tweak the problems and issues in order to extend it to all Americans? There is no reason to "reinvent the wheel" to develop a completely new system. Another concern with developing a completely new health care systems is that how do we know whether Congress and the health industry could develop a new problem-free successful system?

Currently the U.S. has in place a private system that costs more and provides less coverage than health care systems in any other nation. There are reasons for that and it is not primarily because of medical malpractice or burdensome paper work. We need to rethink our current health care plans and future direction.



Peter Stern of Driftwood, Texas, , a former director of information services, university professor and public school administrator, is a political writer well-known and published frequently throughout the Texas community and nationwide. He is a Disabled Vietnam Veteran and holds three post-graduate degrees.

Peter Stern, PO Box 316, Driftwood, TX 78619, 512-426-4802
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Beepbeep said:

0
Medicare For All Is Exactly What We Need
Anything else IS profiteering, however cleverly disguised. And no, this is not the dreaded "socialized medicine" so put your baseball bats away, y'all. There are no Commies under the bed tonight. But there is a Big Con an awful lot of us have been falling for. Slowly, as more and more of us become uninsured or underinsured, we are learning how we've been taken...just as last autumn taught some of us that if there is anything worse than putting economics in the hands of government, it is doing so with private corporations. At least with the government we can scrutinize and scream and yell until we get what we need. But what could we do with what was going on behind the scenes with investment banks? or what IS going on with health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies? Please, fellow Americans! Abandon bitter partisan politics and think about this!
 
July 23, 2009 | url
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