Why will there be no Medicare reform until the government is at the edge of default? Because those calling for Medicare reform are so utterly boring that no one, especially in Congress, will pay any attention.
One well-meaning reformer wrote an article for MarketWatch, a mainstream, Keyensian site. She tried her best to make her multiple reforms coherent. She failed.
I have been writing professionally since 1967. I can spot MEGO articles within a few lines. What is MEGO? My Eyes Glaze Over. Here is a sample.
One way to inject competition into Medicare is premium support, an idea dating back to the 1997 National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare, chaired by two retired members of Congress, Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA) and Senator John Breaux (D-LA).
Thomas and Breaux have retired from Congress, but the Medicare Commission’s premium support idea is now found in the House 2013 budget. Read it here on page 96 of the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget Fiscal Year 2013.
This is utterly hopeless.
This was introduced by this assessment: percentages out to 2080. No one in Congress cares about anything that takes place beyond the next election.
The Office of the Actuary of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has estimated that without the projected Medicare spending cuts under the Affordable Care Act — cuts that may never, if history is any guide, occur — Medicare expenditures as a percent of GDP would grow from 3.7% today to 7.7% in 2050, to 10% in 2080. With the cuts, Medicare spending would be 6.7% of GDP in 2080.
This is a classic blah, blah, blah article. It fills space. There is no sense of urgency. There is no suggestion of a single unified reform. It is all “a little of this, possibly a little of that, one of these days, Real Soon Now.”
Policy conclusion in Congress: “Kick the can.”
Until there is an imminent crisis with identifiable constituencies, Congress will ignore the problem. It can get away with this. “Why poke your stick into a hornet’s nest?”
There is no political solution other than default. We will know this long before 2050.
As a former Maryland doctor, I can comment with some understanding. Policy wonks that daydream about perfection in a system are at a serious disadvantage. The article mentions the problem of doctors dropping sick patients because only "good health" will pay the doctor or doctors drop Medicare patients because they hardly pay the overhead, much less make something for the doctor and his/her family. The policy purists on the right see management of government money as their prime goal. The purists on the left see wide open available care to people with no money (or at least none they wish to spend on health care–there is a difference, the middle class is often part of this latter group).
Doctors are in this middle and squeezing them further between idealists on each side and trial lawyers on the other will rid us of modern medicine. Some feel that is a worthy goal and are ready to call for shamancare.
I left solo practice in Maryland 3 years ago for a "group" in Virginia. It is a bit of a mill. It will probably survive, but it eats out the soul of the physician.
Doctors will leave practice and retire with the help of these policy purists and undeterred trial attorneys. They will be replaced by tatooed, pierced young men and women who just fell into medicine and need to pay off their student loans. Watch what happens then with financial pressures get intense on each side.
If my Medicare taxes and premiums had been placed in a private account and earned 6.34% per year, my Medicare premiums and the interest during the period I have been on Medicare would have paid for my Medicare benefits. When I die, my heirs would receive $139,000. Instead, they will receive nothing from Medicare. newsandopinions dot net
Thank you, DocJim, for a great reply. I can see where this going to happen. Many doctors had entered the field because it was their passion to help others, but with ObamaCare and all the excessive regulation happening for the last years, I can only see this getting worse. It's sad when the medical field has become all about money and less about truly caring about the welfare of the clients. It is a poor reflection on what used to be the most advanced medical system in the world.
here is something else that is MEGO. All eligiblity and verification requirement to prevent illegals from accessing te health care in the health care bill was removed TWICE. Finally, in its place, the democrats placed a one sentence statement that illegal immigrants are not eligible. This is why Joe smith called obama a liar in his speech.
I made a video about it. 3 years ago.
The government won't do anything to correct the wrongs done to Medicare and Social Security because they would loose their source to steal from to fund their pet projects like Obamacare!!! The government is throwing the elderly and disabled to the wolves!!!
our government can't run anything so how can they run health care the fix is in for Obama because he is the first black American president and gets a free pass
Gary North omits the obvious. A few individual legislators may listen to speeches, but when it comes to actually voting (where the rubber meets the road) nearly all march in lockstep with the commands of the party leaders. Are they all corrupt? Yes and no. It isn't that simple. The average elected (and appointed, for that matter) official isn't playing with a full deck. Why not? Few of us really have the smarts our grandparents did. Like the Energizer Bunny that "keeps going – and going – and going!", Americans "keep getting dumber – and dumber – and dumber!" Government officials (except perhaps Obama) arre all (supposed to be) drawn from that same labor pool.
Don't believe it? Read 'em and weep, boys!" http://www.erikthered.com/tutor/historical-averag…
How to fix it? You won't find the solution inside a sound bite!
it's certainly NOT MARKET DRIVEN, it's government "driven". Driven into the ground! Absolutely no market feedback whatsoever!!
As a health insurance agent, I REFUSE TO SELL MEDICARE PROGRAMS to seniors! What choice do they have? None! it's completely mandatory, UNLESS YOU HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY FOR SERVICES YOURSELF apart from and outside of Medicare. Which is doomed to collapse along with everything else within the next couple of years!!
Government put us here, created a MANDATORY health insurance program for the most vulnerable age group there is to make them dependent,; and it cheats doctors from legitimate payments for services. It is another government scam mean to over-promise and, under-deliver.
As far as the conspiracy theories as to why government is willing to do this, I shall leave that to the individual reader to determine themselves!
Why all this effort to "rescue" a failing and grossly corrupt system?? This is an area the Federal Government should have never trod, it's not authorized by the Constitution; and has corrupted the most effective and vital market system delivery of medicine the world has ever known!
Let the government collapse under it's own insanely irresponsible fiscal weight!! It cannot be rescued! IT CANNOT BE RESCUED! It will fail, is failing, it must collapse!!
Perhaps THEN we'll see a swift return to free market principles without the bureaucratic tyranny that's been applied to American Medical practice. No more federal agencies to "regulate" everyone to death (literally!), as they won't be able to pay their bureaucratic tyrants to harass and hinder a free market any longer.