HT to Anastasia over at Kyrie Eleison for her little post on "Medicare." Here's her post, in its elegant and poignant simplicity:
Item: We saw on the news last week that if a patient comes in
complaining of having fainted, Medicare pays "only" $7,000 to the health
care provider. This low figure has been tempting some health care
organizations to instruct their doctors not to call if fainting, but to
call it central nervous system something-or-other, because that
diagnosis brings in many times more dollars from Medicare.
Fainting is a complaint my husband says can be resolved in less than
half an hour at a cost of perhaps $50 to the doctor or practice.
WHO PAYS SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS for a fainting fit? You? Forget it.
Your private health care insurance? Dream on. Only the U.S.
And why? I defy you to make any sense of it without saying it involves
corruption. The answer is, a lot of congressional somebodies are being
paid a lot of money to funnel these kinds of dollars to doctors and
ITEM: When my husband had his carotid artery operated on in
March of this year, he spent one night in the hospital. The hospital's
charge for this (not to be confounded with the doctors' charges, which
are separate things) was $5,830.00. For one night. Without any
particularly complicated care, as all went smoothly enough for him to be
discharged the following morning. Medicare paid $3,000, which is still
outrageous. And the remainder? The hospital, we were told, would
write it off. Meaning it would receive $3,000 but, come tax time, claim
a $2,830 loss.
The truth is, a major part of why the cost of health care in this
country is so high is the federal government's corrupt involvement in
it. Therefore the probability is, we would all, from infants to
seniors, have been better off had there never been a Medicare. So yes,
in that sense, I am against Medicare.
Does that mean I'm in favor of just dropping it? No, definitely not,
because that would leave seniors, largely on a fixed income, defenseless
in a sea of sharks. It ought to be dropped, yes, but only in the
context of an overall reform in the American health care system. A real
reform, I mean, not Obamacare. A reform in which medical charges bear
some resemblance to actual costs, in which profits are not outrageous or
extortionate, in which doctors and hospitals and pharmacies are paid
directly by the patients, without any price-gougers interposing
themselves between and dictating treatments. A reform brought about
carefully, thoughtfully, and gradually.
We'd all pay less, seniors included, seniors especially.
Oh, and we'd also be living more nearly by the Constitution, which does
not accord the federal government the power to set up or administer a
program like Medicare.