Medicare is an economic failure, a massive voter by-off, and now so deeply embedded in our psyche that elderly yet able-bodied relatives of mine have said – quite sincerely – that they would “die” without it. In 1991 Harris Wofford became the spark that lit the ClintonCare smolder, that threw an ember into RomneyCare, and then lit the bonfire known as ObamaCare. The whole progression has been based on the unshakable belief in the government’s ability to do good. If not enough good is accomplished at first…add more government.
Last year we talked about this report on fraudulent or erroneous Medicare payments: $60 billion, or about 10% of the 2014 Medicare budget went to doctors who were at dubious practice locations (“a vacant lot”), had committed crimes, or had just died. No doubt there was some error in compiling that error rate, but 60 B ain’t just accounting slippage. As both a theory and in practice, Medicare is a failure.
It doesn’t matter. Bernie Sanders wants to give everyone “free” healthcare and has no idea how to pay for it, which lives up to an august legacy. LBJ wanted to give the elderly free care, and never cared about how to pay for it. Bush ’43 offered the shuffleboard demographic free drugs in exchange for votes, and only added to the debt. As bad as that budget-buster was, it nearly is an accounting error next to the Affordable Care Act.
Now President Clinton’s Wife wants yet another level of Medicare. She said, ” I’m also in favor of what’s called the public option, so that people can buy into Medicare at a certain age.” The certain age she is targeting is the 50-54 crowd, about 38 million already covered under some sort of employer plan, and another 7 million that is uninsured. The article explains that Medicare might actually be a more expensive (than ObamaCare plans) option for some, but a tradeoff might be broader networks and lower deductibles. But how exactly will we pay for this new group on top of the government patients we already can’t afford?Tweet