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Should we privatize Medicare?

By       Message Jack Lohman     Permalink
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Been there, done that" the answer is NO!

Conservatives say that private companies are more efficient than government, but they ignore that Medicare already has a private arm put into place by George Bush in 2003. It's called Medicare Advantage and 25% of seniors have opted for it. (Some "tricked" into it, but I'll not go into that here.)

But that privatized Medicare system costs taxpayers 17% more than the traditional public system. So much for private being more efficient than public.

The reason it got congressional approval in the first place is that private insurance companies can give campaign contributions and Medicare cannot. And that's a major slap at our corrupt political system, and the politicians that voted it into place.

These politicians should be ashamed, even put in jail, but the public should be even more concerned. That very same pay-to-play political corruption has trashed our economy. It bought all of the trade laws that outsourced our jobs to other countries. Get the bribes out of health care and you'd be surprised at the progress we could make.

Is Medicare perfect?

Far from it. But having experienced both private medicine and now Medicare for 6 years, I'll take the latter any day. I see the same doctor I've seen for twenty years; he just sends the bill in a different direction.

Why is it being attacked?

Because it is good and the private insurance industry doesn't like that a bit. Its administrative costs are 3.5% versus their 15-20%. Medicare doesn't have the high costs of $15 million per year CEO salaries, bonuses, stock options, marketing costs, broker sales commissions, actuarial costs, shareholder profits, nor even the political campaign contributions that get passed on to the patient.

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And to understand why politicians are attacking it you'd have to look closely at the $125 million in campaign contributions they received in the last year. Go figure.

Isn't this what Canada has?

Yes, and all we hear is that Canada has wait times. But we don't hear that they spend only 10% of GDP (versus our 17.5%) and they could eliminate those waits by increasing their spending to 11-12% of GDP. Yet even with their wait times, 90% of Canadians prefer their system to ours. (They have NO wait times for urgent care, however.)

We always hear about the occasional Canadian coming to the U.S. for care, but we never hear of the Americans going to Mexico or India because they can better afford care there.

Medicare-for-all *IS* a jobs bill

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If you've ever owned a company and been faced with 15% healthcare increases per year, even when medical costs are increasing at 5%, you already know of the urge to send your manufacturing to Asia. Getting businesses out of providing health care to employees will reduce outsourcing and increase their ability to keep jobs in the U.S.. One plan reduces employer costs from 15% of wages to just 4.5%.

Is there Medicare fraud?

Of course there is, but it is far less than in the private system because government fraud usually means jail time. But fraud detection should be extended and privatized, if you will, by improving the laws that protect whistle blowers. Let the employees provide and be rewarded for the oversight rather than hiring new FBI agents. Few doctors, hospitals or nursing homes will attempt fraud under those conditions.

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Lohman is a retired business owner and is author of "Politicians - Owned and Operated by Corporate America" (www.MoneyedPoliticians.com) and author of http://MoneyedPoliticians.net

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