You've heard all the stories about how Medicare and Medicaid are on the ropes, that doctors refuse to see patients from Medicaid because its reimbursements are so paltry, that both programs are essentially being SUBSIDIZED by the private insurers because they spend far more money than they take in, and so on and on and on.
Bottom line, say the critics, is that government-funded health care, a public option or single payer, would give us more of the same --a massive government bureaucracy that would collapse under the weight of its obligations.
Pure and utter baloney.
There are only two problems with the existing public health programs:
- They're underfunded.
- They serve the poor and the elderly, not the young and the healthy.
That will change --dramatically-- once the for-profit insurers are pushed aside by a far more efficient public entity --think Medicare with a 3% administrative overhead (and NO profits)-- where all Americans, the healthy and the frail, are in the same insurance pool.
How can the cost of health care not go down? The for-profit health industry skims $350 billion off the top for its investors before any health care at all is delivered!
Dr. Peter Mahr, over at 'The Stump', asks:
The answer is simple and straightforward: Single payer, stupid!
And a few days ago on 'The Stump', Stephen Gregg, a self-described "free marketer", called Medicare a "very sweet deal":
--Stable premium increases.
--Ubiquitous access to almost any provider in the country.
--Ability to switch carriers, no questions asked, once a year.
--So far, decent public-private customer service throughout.
--Very little uncertainty as to whether I am covered for all the possibilities.
"It's a challenge to argue that Medicare is an inferior alternative to a more responsive and dynamic private sector."
So there you have it. Both 'Stump' posts, needless to say, brought out the anti-government critics. But national polls indicate that single payer, or at the very least a public option, have the support of a majority of the American public.
Now its up to the the pols --and Obama-- to see it through.