UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

August 16, 2009

MEDICARE REVEALS THE WINNER IN PUBLIC VS. PRIVATE PLANS

Medicare Advocacy Center - Forty four years ago Medicare was enacted into law. All of today's dire warnings about a public health option - socialism and government barring the doctor's door - were made in opposition to Medicare. Despite such opposition from "conservative," leaders, Medicare passed because of some courageous, principled law-makers.

Before Medicare, 50% of everyone 65 or older had no health insurance. Now, as a result of Medicare, almost all older people are insured. Medicare, which is national, government-run health insurance, succeeded in insuring older people where private insurance failed. Further, until the Bush Administration privatized Medicare with huge subsidies to private "Medicare Advantage" and Part D plans, Medicare was also remarkably cost-effective. It's private Medicare, not the traditional, public program, that's bleeding taxpayers of billions of dollars.

Medicare has been a success, fiscally and morally. It took on the job of insuring health coverage and care to people that private insurance had abandoned. Since 2003, on the other hand, private Medicare plans have cost us all tens of billions of dollars that went to support the private insurance industry, not to providing health care. In addition, private Medicare plans have too often engaged in marketing abuses and restrictive coverage practices. As numerous studies have shown, people with Medicare love it. They do not want government to fool around with the traditional program

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