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Everything that’s wrong with Medicare for all

As with any government proposal, thinking persons ask: what are the specifics and who is paying for it?

Medicare-for-All is no exception. In brief, everyone would have mandated government insurance at Medicare-level coverage. From a health insurance perspective, that is a mixed blessing but would mean that inpatient hospitalization is covered at nearly 100%. However, you pay 20% of everything else, including observation status (many hospital “admissions”) and all outpatient care and supplies. The main benefit over private insurance is that Medicare has the federal government’s heavy hand and can cut prices as low as they want.

That sounds good — until you need a physician. Medicare cuts resulted in thousands of independent hospitals closing; those remaining were bought by corporate medical institutions where necessarily dollars trump patient care. In those areas, all physicians were bought by institutions, the latter may now legally restrict referrals and treatments offered by employed physicians. Health care is like any other business; artificially eliminating competition increases corruption and cronyism.

Medicare cuts are why there is a 50-80% shortage of physicians in rural areas and why successful physicians increasingly reject all insurance and offer concierge practice — patients pay cash or don’t get seen — just like any other business. Health care is a privilege: no one has the right to someone else’s learned skills. First the government ceased tax deductions on charitable care and now mandate charity; physicians are finally realizing that mandated charity is simply serfdom.

And who pays for it? Once again, working people shoulder the burden while unemployed and retired persons benefit. Moderate projection is that income tax would increase to 12-32% from the current 2.9% for Medicare, pushing total income tax to more than 50%.

There’s a word for inflicting such an enslaving parasite upon our children: selfish.

DR. ALLAN P. FRANK,

Alpena