Medicare

The media elites mislead Americans about Medicare 

No one individual better illustrates the biased media than Paul Krugman. In his November op-ed “Medicare Killers” he writes:

Still doesn’t something have to be done about Medicare? No — which is my third point. People like Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, have often managed to bamboozle the media into believing that their efforts to dismantle Medicare and other programs are driven by valid economic concerns. They aren’t.

It has been obvious for a long time that Medicare is actually more efficient than private insurance, mainly because it doesn’t spend large sums on overhead and marketing, and, of course, it needn’t make room for profits.

Really Mr Krugman? Then why does the 2016 Medicare Trustees Report (the Trustees are mostly Administration officials) say this?

Notwithstanding recent favorable developments, current-law projections indicate that Medicare still faces a substantial financial shortfall that will need to be addressed with further legislation. Such legislation should be enacted sooner rather than later to minimize the impact on beneficiaries, providers, and taxpayers.

Medicare is not more efficient than private insurance. Much of its true overhead is not allocated to Medicare costs, including the marketing it does. It’s lack of efficient claim processing leads to massive fraud and unnecessary claim payments and it’s service to beneficiaries is lacking.

Krugman also gives the ACA credit for lowering Medicare costs. That, at a minimum, is debatable. Recent changes by Congress changed the physician reimbursement process and appears to have set the stage for longer term problems. Here is what the Trustees say:

In addition, the law specifies the physician payment update amounts for all years in the future, and these amounts do not vary based on underlying economic conditions, nor are they expected to keep pace with the average rate of physician cost increases. The specified rate updates could be an issue in years when levels of inflation are high and would be problematic when the cumulative gap between the price updates and physician costs becomes large. The gap will continue to widen throughout the projection, and the Trustees anticipate that physician payment rates under current law will be lower than they would have been under the SGR formula by 2048. Absent a change in the delivery system or level of update by subsequent legislation, the Trustees expect access to Medicare-participating physicians to become a significant issue in the long- term under current law.

The problem with Krugman and indeed most liberals is that they appear incapable of long-term thinking, of considering unintended consequences or telling Americans the full story of the consequences of their actions.

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Categories: Medicare, Politics

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3 replies »

  1. The reason Mr.K does not see any problems with Medicare is that Congress comes to the rescue every time and keeps the premiums artificially low.
    If Medicare patients had to pay premiums that would actually help balance the fund, all hell would break lose. Until the American people are told the truth that U.S. unfunded liabilities over the next 75 years could equal 127 to 210 Trillion Dollars: and there is no way we can afford to cover it with treasury bonds. We will need additional tax revenue, then maybe things might improve. But maybe the American people can’t handle the truth.
    The politicians sure can’t tell the truth. I see a Federal Value Added Tax coming in the next few years, Welcome to The United States of Europe, standard of living.

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  2. If Medicare is “more efficient” than private insurance, who does that efficiency benefit? I’m not sure if it is a growing trend or not, but some doctors will not accept Medicare patients. Why? Because the Medicare payments do not cover their costs. Many other doctors rely on patients with private insurance plans to make up for what they are losing on Medicare.

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