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 18, 2009

WHY MEDICARE FOR ALL IS NOT UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE

Mary Lynn Cramer, Counterpunch - Medicare, by itself, does not cover annual physical exams, dental care, routine eye exams or eyeglasses. There is no coverage for hearing aids, annual physical exams, or foot care. Medicare participants must pay 50 per cent of an outpatient therapist's charge for mental health services. Other services and supplies not provided by Medicare include acupuncture, chiropractic services, several laboratory tests, long-term care, orthopedic shoes, prescription drugs, shots to prevent illness, and some surgical procedures given in ambulatory surgical centers. . . . For those items that are covered, there is a charge of at least 20 per cent of the medical provider's costs, and a deductible that must be met.

This new bottom line for benefits, much lower than anything I ever had with my "employer-provided" insurance plans, will be this basic Medicare plan offered to all, served up with blarney that now all Americans have access to the same excellent Medicare that the elderly are so "happy" with.

This is what Grampy meant, when he protested that he did not want the government messing around with his Medicare. In spite of the chortling and demeaning commentary by noted liberals on NPR talk shows, Democracy Now, The DR show, and others, Grampy does know that the deduction he agreed the government should take directly from his monthly Social Security check is his premium payment for the government-run Medicare plan. He also knows he could never afford decent medical coverage if he did not make an additional monthly premium payment for the private supplemental ("Advantage") program. Grampy knows that these supplemental programs that give him the "advantage" of being able to afford the basics of medical care, are on the chopping block and that their elimination (as Obama brags repeatedly) will play a major part in the cost-cutting needed to pay for the new health reform program. Another cost-cutter Obama often cites is reduction in funding to those hospitals that provide services to the uninsured and poorest citizens. . .

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