Letters to the Editor: September 17 – 23, 2009

September 17, 2009 6:29 PM0 comments
Says Medicare is Not Exemplary of Good System

Editor,

Last week’s News-Press included a heartfelt letter stating, among other things, that Medicare is excellent and efficient and served that gentleman well.

That is good news.

But Medicare as a system isn’t a good example: 1) Medicare is going bankrupt, running out of money in 8 years, with a $38 trillion dollar shortfall over 75 years. 2) The more we borrow to fund Medicare (or anything), the more our kids and grandkids get to pay for our current consumption (which is immoral). 3) Private payers bail out Medicare, which underpays doctors and hospitals, who compensate by overcharging private patients – estimated at $89 billion a year. (If national health care follows the same pattern, private hospitals get driven out of business.) 4) Low payments necessarily mean medical decisions shift to a Federal budget office someplace, away from patient & doctor. 5) Medicare has lots of fraud. The FBI estimates a 3-10% fraud rate in private health care, where presumably patients check their bills; Medicare is likely higher. 5) Medicare’s administrative costs are high, probably over 6%, if all costs are counted, such as revenue collection, personnel and enforcement. 6) Medicare is fee for service, rather than results (i.e., paid by quantity, not quality) 7.) Innovation is scarcely possible, because the innovative procedure (by definition) can’t be on the approved list.

Ron Parson

Via the Internet

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