Re "GOP revisits Medicare reform," March 3
People get the greatest share of their lifetime medical care after age 65, and Medicare is currently the cheapest solution to that problem. The federal program's overhead is smaller than private insurance, but economists say the program is underfunded.
If raising taxes is a tough sell, then increasing the monthly medical insurance premium that most Medicare recipients pay above $104 would improve its financing. That is cheaper than having millions of seniors on the welfare rolls due to medical bankruptcy, which could happen if we place seniors at the mercy of the insurance companies by giving them vouchers.
The one thing Republicans hate more than government programs are government programs that work well. They can't seem to give up the idea of privatizing Medicare. They want to take a public program that has been copied by private insurance companies in its cost-control and quality initiatives and subject it to market forces that prize profits over all else.
Just compare the higher satisfaction ratings of Medicare with private health insurance, and it becomes obvious that the Republican proposals are the outcome of ideology over common sense.
Steven P. Wallace
The writer chairs the Community Health Sciences Department at UCLA's School of Public Health.
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