Thursday, August 6, 2009

Medicare Is Socialized Medicine

Listen up my fellow Americans, especially those of you who fear that socialized medicine is the work of Satan.

Here in America we already have socialized medicine in the form of Medicare, a single payer, government run system for people over 65 and the disabled. Medicare comes in two parts. Part A covers hospitalization and Part B covers various tests and outpatient treatments.

Guess what, under this government run, single payer system, seniors get to choose their own doctors, their own hospitals, and since their health care is administered by the federal government, its administrative costs are much less than those of private health insurance companies( even given bloated government bureaurocracy).

There are no referrals or permissions necessary as with HMO's. On top of that, every hospital in the country accepts Medicare which means a New Yorker who breaks an arm in Arizona won't be turned away from the local emergency room if he hasn't got cash or a credit card. Medicare is good everywhere in the United States.

Scare Tactics

It amazes me how many grey-hairs I see in videos and TV coverage of the protests against the health care legislation now being hammered out in Congress. I'm stunned to find that many of these mature adults who are screaming about socialized medicine like it was the end of days, do not realize that Medicare, on which they rely, is socialized medicine. It may not be perfect, but it works. Every doctor I know spends more time hassling with insurance companies and filling out forms than seeing patients. Physicians can opt out of Medicare, but most don't. The fees aren't as high as for private insurance, but there is less hassle and they do get paid. Every hospital has a huge accounting staff just to handle insurance billing as every Insurance company has different rules, different forms and a different contract with the hospital.

Here's what folks. The American health care system is broken. We have to fix it, pronto. Entrenched Insurance interests are trying to scare the pants off you not because they care about you, but because they care about their bottom line. They won't make as much money if everybody has the single payer government option. It's that simple. They are businesses with a primary fiduciary responsibility to their investors and shareholders not to you. You are the product on which they make a profit. That's the way business works and in this country, health care is a business and a very lucrative one at that.

If I have to choose between corporate greed and government beaurocracy, I'll take the government. But you don't have to. As the President says " If you like your present plan you can keep it" Something for everybody. In the meantime, please remember that Medicare is not a dirty word.. Millions of seniors depend upon it and are happy to have it.


Andrew T. said...

Does Medicare cover head from ass removal surgery? I ask because that's what most of these people fighting reform need. Well done and well said!

pinkpackrat said...

ROTFL Andrew-- well, in fairness, I suppose I should say that it is not just old folks who are practicing rectal cranial inversion on this one--but they are the ones that shock me the most and they do seem to be disproportionately represented in the screaming disruptive rallies.

JamaGenie said...

You'd think with most everyone in America connected to the internet these days, this wouldn't even be an issue. But then that would require people to THINK, and the health insurance industry is counting on that they WON'T, but get their "facts" from the talking heads on Fox.

I'm ever amazed at people who'll argue that Medicare is NOT the dreaded "S" word. What color are the trees in their world?

The other head-shaker that cracks me up are people who have health insurance through their employer. The very ones that don't want single-payer because they "don't want to be paying for anybody's health care but [their] own".

The flaw in that one is for an employer to offer health insurance to its employees, they're all lumped together *as a group* so that the costs of the care that anyone in the group receives is *shared by all members of that group*. Meaning the weight-conscious secretary who eats nothing but lettuce and works out at the gym every day is still paying for medical treatments of the 300-pound IT guy with bad knees who has donuted himself into Type 2 diabetes.

Or the twenty-something mid-level manager who doesn't intend to stay with the company past 30 is in effect paying for the drugs his 55-yr-old boss takes for high blood pressure (no doubt caused by having to stay with that company until retirement - or death from stress.

It's no wonder Europeans wonder what's wrong with us that we don't look out for each other.

pinkpackrat said...


Susan said...

Wahoo, Pink! You said it all.

But let me add that thanks to our equally broken political process, which is run by the lobbyists, I don't feel very confident about whatever agreement is hammered out.
It's going to be distorted and skewed to try to make everyone happy.

I am hoping that whatever it is, it's at least a good start.

Al said...

Bizarrely we have had a Taxpayer funded system called Medicare here in Oz since 1983. The world didn't end (at least our bit of it). The Red peril didn't re-materialise and make us all sing the Internationale.
Doctors still make obscene amounts of money, specialists make more. Those who choose can privately insure so the can choose their own doctor or go to a "better" private hospital.
Public hospitals are free,no matter who you are. Doctors can opt out, but then the Government reimburses you for around 50 - 80% of what you pay for seeing them.
Most medications are subsidised and the poor usually pay between nothing an $5.00.
DON'T Do it America, it might damage someone's freedom.

pinkpackrat said...

Ahhh Susan, I share your fears:-) and I too am hoping for the best.

Al, thanks for chiming in from Australia. Big pharma and insurance lobbies here would have us believe that government run single payer systems don't work-- so thank you bigtime for telling it like it is. Most Americans really don't know.

Anonymous said...

I have news for Hannity and others at FOX news, Medicare is SOCIAL MEDICINE, it always has been, from its birth in 1965; so why they insist in MISinforming people about it? They keep their rethoric saying that Presient Obama will socialize medicine in this country.....!!!! Hannity, wake up boy! MEDICARE is a form of SOCIALIZE medicine, idiot!