Friday, June 3, 2011

Haynes on Paying for the Cake You Want to Eat

Dr. Beth Haynes of the Black Ribbon Project and Docs4PatientCare has a new OpEd in the 6/2/2011 PajamasMedia, "Medicare Reform: Paying for the Cake You Want to Eat".

Here is the opening:
Since Medicare and Medicaid became law in 1965, people have been told: "You can have your cake and eat it too." You can have the medical care you need and not have to pay for it. (You may think you are paying for Medicare with your payroll taxes, but in fact those taxes cover less than 1/3 of your projected health care costs.)

For decades, Medicare and Medicaid have been paying for health care with no one facing the difficult question: "Is what we are purchasing worth the cost?" Not the doctors, nor the "beneficiaries" -- and especially not the politicians. Doctors get income; patients get health care; politicians get votes -- all with the carefree ease of paying for it with other people's money while simultaneously ignoring the debt looming larger and larger behind the proverbial curtain.
(Read the full text of "Medicare Reform: Paying for the Cake You Want to Eat".)

As Dr. Haynes notes, the crucial issue will be "Who decides?"

As long as we attempt to "guarantee" universal health care for any group of Americans (such as senior citizens), the government will attempt to control what medical care it will pay for (and what care patients can receive). The end result will be Canadian and UK-style rationing.

Hence, if we want to restore control over these decisions back to senior patients and their physicians, we need to phase out and eventually privatize Medicare. That will be the only way out of our current Medicare mess.