Posted by Warren Peterson on August 20, 2009
It was an in office surgery. The total bill submitted to Medicare including pre and post operation office appointments came to $5,000. Medicare allowed only 55% or $2,750. The doctor has to accept the lower amount, that’s the rule. Medicare paid 80% and the patient paid the balance. This may explain why a friend of mine, when his doctor retired, had to contact three doctors before he could find one that accepted new Medicare patients.
One study puts the Medicare unfunded liability at $74 trillion, larger than Social Security and simply not sustainable. Now President Obama and most Democrats in Congress want to expand Medicare like health care to the currently uninsured and eventually sweep all Americans into a government run single payer system.
Congress, regardless of which party is in control, is by its nature incapable of crafting a healthcare program that meets the need and is affordable. Every member horse-trades to include something for his or her district, state and/or supporters. Liberals shut out conservatives and vise versa. Special interests dominate. Politics, not best business practices, good medicine or innovative ideas, prevail. Congress should set some broad, minimum guidelines for health care reform (portability, coverage for pre existing conditions, affordability etc.) then give carte blanche authority to a commission to propose implementing legislation with an up or down no amendments vote of Congress. There are pros and cons to the commission approach but it is far superior to the current rush to judgment of Obamacare. It provides an opportunity to start with a clean sheet of paper, time to evaluate ideas and tone down the rhetoric.
There are many bloggers, pundits and web sites covering the issue of healthcare reform. Below are two sites worth viewing: