Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite Save As Favorite View Article Stats
1 comment

OpEdNews Op Eds

Optional Medicare for businesses?

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

By Jack E. Lohman                    

Liberals want Medicare-for-all and conservatives say it’s too costly.

Some like the free-market “for-profit” system, others don’t want profit driving medicine. Some don’t want the government involved, others trust elected politicians more than unelected CEOs.

So, let’s have both. How can anyone argue against that?

For those willing to pay the extra costs of the insurance bureaucracy, let them. That 31% of the dollars includes broker sales commissions, marketing and advertising costs, high executive salaries, bonuses and stock options, ever increasing shareholder profits, and even lobbying and campaign contributions that are added to the price of the policy.

If the conservatives want to pay it, let them. That’s the free market they espouse, and it keeps some people in jobs.

But for those who want health “care” instead of health “insurance,” let them opt into the federal Medicare system and reimburse Medicare for its actual costs. Employers can give employees the choice, and if one is more costly they pay the difference.

For those unfamiliar with Medicare, it’s simple. You get sick, you get care and the caregiver gets paid. But the providers get paid by the Medicare administrator – which is Madison’s non-profit WPS – instead of the insurance company the employer has chosen. This year, anyway.

The hospital or doctor doesn’t have to fight to get paid – the payment is guaranteed and there is little or no bad debt. And they remain as private contractors to Medicare, just as is WPS. It’s the same private hospital and doctor you see today, just a different payer and it's portable if you change jobs.

Here’s what’s interesting. If Medicare truly is too costly, as its opponents claim, there’ll be no takers. But if Medicare is cheaper, the private insurers will have no takers! How’s that for competition and consumer choice?

Here’s the rub. Medicare IS more efficient and private insurers will not want to compete with them. They can’t compete now, as private Medicare HMO contractors, and it won’t be any easier under this system.

However, one thing must be changed. Whether HSAs or not, private insurers must provide the same level of care as Medicare does. No pre-existing disease exclusions. No limits on coverage. No gatekeeping. No denials of care. No cancelling when costs start increasing. In other words, no playing games, no under-insuring and no cheating. Patients get care when they need care. Always!

This doesn’t get us to a perfect system, just a more efficient and competitive one. There remain problems with both the fee-for-service Medicare system and the "flat rate" HMO/PPO models typically in the market. With FFS the physicians receive more income as the amount of care and ordering of tests increases. Sometimes too much care can be as bad as not enough care.

Conversely, with the fixed-rate HMO/PPO models, as more tests are ordered those costs come out of the bottom line profits. So depending on the financial relationship between the physician and HMO/PPO, needed tests could go undone so the profits increase.

All of this can be fixed if politicians have the will. Doctors and clinics should not be allowed to profit from expensive testing. Hospitals should not be able to employ physicians. The certificate of need should be reinstated and hospital overbuilding should be restrained.

Why are we hesitant to proceed? In short, we could fix the system if we removed the insurance industry and hospital campaign contributions being paid to politicians to protect the status quo. Unfortunately, private interests can give campaign contributions and Medicare can’t, so the politicians will be a hard sell.

Next Page  1  |  2


Lohman is a retired business owner and is author of "Politicians - Owned and Operated by Corporate America" ( and author of
Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Supreme Court Bombshell! Congress Can Over-ride SCOTUS Citizens United Ruling

Medicare-for-all *IS* a jobs bill!

Only a 100% political turnover will prevent US and state bankruptcy!

Should we privatize Medicare?

Gas at $5! So?

I've never understood redistricting, until today.


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
1 people are discussing this page, with 1 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)
All health insurers need to be Non-Profit corporat... by Anton Grambihler on Wednesday, Feb 20, 2008 at 12:44:02 PM