Friday, January 30, 2004

Medicare or Bust

The Washington Post is reporting today that the Medicare drug benefit proposed by President Bush and passed by Congress to the tune of $400 billion over ten years will now increase by another $134 billion over the same ten years. I guess the liberals got their wish that we should be spending even more on the plan. I have another idea: SHUT IT DOWN NOW!! This is getting out of control. A 33% increase in one year! Oh wait, it's not even one year, it's more like 2 months, and, since I'm not eligible for Medicare, I don't even know if the program has gone into effect. At this rate (yearly not monthly which I could have done), Medicare will have cost $6.9 trillion at the end of 10 years. Again, I ask, am I insane?

Here's my plan:

Shut down medicare, medicaid and any other government funded medical "insurance" plan. We need to get back to what insurance was for: catastrophic needs, not oil changes and tire rotations. For example, if you went to your local mechanic for an oil change and used your "insurance" plan for the work and had to make a small co-pay, then you might come out with a new muffler, tires, and curb-scrapers. All unneeded, but what the hell, it makes my car feel good. The same is true in health care. If you go in for a checkup, we should pay for it out of pocket, making the consumer more of a partner in the transaction rather than a third party payor, like we have now. If the doctor suggests or recommends a procedure, you can make a choice on whether you need it based on price and relative health. This plan, of course, would require a revamping of medical liability laws as well to protect the doctors from the consent issues. Also, medical savings accounts, tax free or in a special interest account at your local bank, could be used to pay for the run of the mill procedures. As for the catastrophic needs, we could purchase catastrophic coverage for when we're really sick. I currently pay $4,000 plus a month for me and my 5 other employees, and I haven't been to the doctor in 3 years. I'm throwing away money. I guess I am insane.

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