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Aninnervoice
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Uninsured medical costs was the biggest reason people filed for bankruptcy. In response to the problem of millions of Americans having no health insurance and being unable to pay for medical care if they got sick; President Obama proposed and passed the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009" (Obamacare). However, this was not a single payer system, based on Medicare, but rather it was based on a plan supported and signed by Mitt Romney in 2006 when he was Governor of Massachusetts. Both programs had individual mandates to require people without health insurance to purchase it from private companies, in many cases with financial assistance from the government. This makes no sense to me, why not expand Medicare to cover everyone. Why force people to buy insurance from the hodgepodge of insurance companies, each with their own administrative costs and policies, trying to maximize profits? The cost of this bureaucracy means that medical care in the United States costs almost twice that of any other country with a single payer system. Why not have the insurance companies offer a Medic-gap type and gold plated wrap-around policies? The government provides a safety-net floor which people can voluntarily build on. Mitt has promised to repeal Obamacare, a program he drew the blueprint for, and replace it with a "market based solution"; yet he has not specified what it would be. Expanding Medicare would also be a benefit to Medicare, it will financially stabilize what is now the high-risk pool of the insurance industry. A substantial majority of Medicare enrollees – roughly 87% have at least one chronic condition, and nearly half have three or more. The people covered by Medicare include 1) people age 65 and older, who are the most likely to have Heart Attacks, Strokes, and Cancer, and other diseases related to age; 2) people who have permanent disabilities and receive Social Security Disability Insurance; 3) people with end-stage renal [kidney] disease which requires maintenance dialysis or a kidney transplant; 4) people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) which is a slow wasting away of the body. The common thread between both disease specific groups is, they are expensive to treat and there is no cure. By expanding Medicare to include everyone, you would be adding 10's of millions of people under 65, the vast majority of whom are healthy and seldom require medical care. These people would have the security of knowing if they did get seriously ill, they would be treated without the rigamarole of complex rules and regulations regarding pre-existing conditions, pre-authorization, and Coordination of benefits. Medicare would benefit from the inflow of low-risk money which otherwise would go to pay premiums to private for-profit insurance companies. Medicare spreads the financial risk associated with illness across society to protect everyone, and thus has a somewhat different social role from private insurers, which must manage their risk portfolio to guarantee their own solvency. Medicare is a pragmatic program that works and is supported by a vast majority of Americans; however ideologues would call it socialism.
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Aug 13, 2012