Since the US government has had control over this massive pot of money, how can we expect Bernie’s proposal to be relevant or even a plausible possibility, when Medicare is currently losing money and going to be bankrupt! According to a recent report, Medicare trustees project “the hospital fund is on track to empty out in 2026, already flunks the trustees’ short-range financial adequacy test, and has already reached the Medicare funding warning level.”[i]
Let me give you all a simple example of how efficient the Medicare system is:
An 81-year-old man enters hospital on a Friday for a TIA (transient ischemic attack, “ministroke”). Patient’s internist makes rounds on Saturday and visits with him for 5-7 minutes. The patient thinks his internist is great! Internist files a claim against Medicare and UnitedHealthcare (Medicare supplement). Both insurance plans pay the doc for his gracious and well-timed visit. This all sounds good, right? The plans worked, the patient feels cared-for, and the doc got a couple of bucks for checking in with his long-time patient.
Well, not so fast!
The doc, in his infinite wisdom (and oh boy, how smart he is), billed Medicare and UHC $15,121. Yes, over $15k for a 7-minute hello and how are you feeling visit.
Guess what is more frightening than that?
Medicare allowed $2,564.31, paid the doc $2,051.45, and UHC AARP paid $512.86.
Caveat Emptor (buyer beware). The US government (Medicare) is the buyer as well as UHC. These charges translate to rates, premium increases, sustainability, and the list goes on.
So, Bernie, you still game? You really think we should scrap the system and let the government take on even more? Probably because you and the Democrats really don’t understand the insurance world, and WHY the costs are what they are. You think you can trot out a term like “Medicare for All” and win votes—am I right?
BS, baby, BS! You are selling a folly. Speaker Ryan did not answer my two emails about how to cut the now $3.5 trillion annual healthcare spend in half! The country cannot afford a $30 trillion price tag. All you are doing is confusing the American public. Making a positive change to the US healthcare system is quite easy. But no one really wants to change how the system works. Each group wants something for their own—politicians, hospitals, insurers, providers.
Should anyone in the White House, or on either side of the aisle in Congress, want to understand how to control healthcare costs and do it right…give me a call. It’s quite easy.
[i] Allison Bell, “Medicare Posts $1.6 Billion Loss,” Think Advisor, 23 April 2019, https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2019/04/23/medicare-posts-1-6-billion-loss/