Medicare for All Revisited

Awhile back I wrote about the many issues with “Medicare for All.” Dr. J. Deane Waldman, a
University of New Mexico professor in the Health Sciences Center, offers a few “inconvenient truths” about Medicare.

Medicare was intended to be self-sustaining by having workers pay in while employed and taking out of the fund as needed after they retired. It was supposed to pay for itself: no additional funds required. Hah!

Inconvenient truth #1: Medicare quickly became a Ponzi scheme just like Social Security. According to the Government Accounting Office, Medicare will run out of funds in 2017, even before Social Security. The addition of President Bush’s ill-conceived Drug Program For Seniors sped up a process of collapse by adding another (unpaid for by the contributors) entitlement. Medicare-for-all will be no care for all.

Medicare tries to contain its costs in two ways: neither works and neither is what patients want. First, it rations care. Yes, I said it. Many things your doctor would like for you are denied as not “cost effective.”

Let’s just ignore inconvenient truth #2, that there are at present virtually no scientific cost effectiveness studies on which the government denies payment. Denying payment means denying care and thus again, Medicare-for-all is no care for all.

Inconvenient truth #2A: Beware of what President Obama is touting as cost-effectiveness studies in the proposed health care reform bill. Just like in Great Britain and Australia, what the government defines as effective is often not what patients and doctors want as positive effects.

While the “public option ” seems to be dead for now, it will inevitably come back again. Professor Waldman’s points are highly persuasive.

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2 Replies to “Medicare for All Revisited”

  1. You forgot one Medicare truth which is the most important to the American public: it is a wildly popular program.

    Keep comparing the public option to Medicare for all.

    The public option is already popular with a majority of the public, tying it to an even more popular program is a great move to pass the public option.

  2. Richard,

    Medicare is only wildly popular among those who are able to loot future generations to pay for it. Most of the rest of us are either ignorant of the real financial problems facing Medicare — Today, the unfunded liability of Medicare works out to more than $700,000 for each family in America — or are not able to vote on the issue (usually both). Expanding Medicare to all Americans would only hasten the day when America is totally unable to pay its bills.

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