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Many advocates of government-run health care claim that Medicare is “the most successful government program in history” and urge policy makers to expand it to encompass our entire medical delivery system. These people are, of course, delusional. As IBD points out, Medicare is actually a pig’s breakfast:
Anyone who thinks a national single-payer system would be an improvement isn’t paying attention. Medicare, which provides coverage for less than 15% of the population, can’t get it right.
One of the things it can’t get right is physician payment:
Payments have been so late in some cases that doctors from New York to California have had little choice but to take out loans — some as large as $3 million — to bridge the gap.
And even if Medicare could get the money there on time, it’s not enough:
In too many instances, the compensation that is eventually provided by Medicare — an amount determined by bureaucrats, not the market … is simply not enough to cover the physicians’ costs.
Why should you care about how much doctors get paid?
First, some doctors are cutting back on the number of Medicare patients they see — limiting medical care access for the elderly who rely on Medicare and have paid into it for 40 years or more.
And future access for the growing elderly population looks even worse:
Second, the arrangement kills incentives for medical school students to practice family medicine, which already seems to be a dying art, as only 8% of 2006 U.S. medical school graduates opted for family practices.
So, Medicare has contrived a situation in which both patients and their doctors get the shaft. That’s government-run health care folks—-lose, lose.
+ May 2008
+ May 2007