Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Does Medicare Need Reform?

By Alan Caruba

On Sunday, I managed to "throw my back out", something I do every few years; a muscle spasm that had nothing to do with lifting something heavy. Just whammo! I took some pain pills I had in the cabinet from a previous problem and on Monday morning I called my physician. By Noon I was in her office and receiving new prescriptions for pain pills and muscle relaxants. An hour later I had the pills in hand,

By this morning, Wednesday, I am thoroughly on the mend, though it will probably take until Friday before I am back to normal again. Thanks to Medicare, my pills cost me just over $10.00. My visit to the doctor will be covered as well.

So, tell me, what is it that needs to be "reformed" in the current system? And how long would it have taken to see my doctor under Obama's socialized healthcare?

The current Medicare/Medicaid system is running out of money, but "reforming" it to a point where I would likely have had to wait a very long time to see my doctor is absurd.

I will be 72 years old in October. I have been in a hospital twice; once to be born and once for a hernia operation in 2005, spending the total of one day before returning home for a period of recuperation that same day.

Just because people get old and need care is not a reason to find ways to reduce the level of care they receive under the current healthcare system. It is fundamentally immoral and flies in the face of the liberal view that healthcare is a "right." The Constitution does not define or enumerate this alleged "right."

Prior to qualifying for Medicare coverage, I maintained a private insurance plan in the event I needed care. If insurance companies were allowed to sell across state lines and if our tort system that encourages litigation against doctors is not revised, nothing in the alleged "healthcare reform" will have any real impact except to undermine the economy and condemn people to suffer needlessly and possibly die while waiting for care.

The Obama "reforms" are a subterfuge intended to reduce the population.


Buzzg said...

Glad to hear you're on the mend. I'm a medicare recepient also, though I seldom use it as I'm still in pretty good shape. I don't think medicare per se needs reform, but the system that administers it certainly could use some cleaning up. Medicare fraud is the biggest failure and cost burden of that system. That would require an extensive survey of the system and some harsh measures I'm sure. That is not something the government is good at. If they tried to "fix" it they'd probably only succeed in increasing the numbers of government employees, and add a 'czar' or two.
Actually, the most effective thing that could be done now to reduce the costs of medical care would be extensive tort reform on a national level and repeal of the federal law that permits states to prohibit interstate commerce in insurance. That, of course, is not going to happen as lawyers and the American Bar Association are huge contributors to the Democrats. It's going to take a Republican majority with strong conservative principles to alter any of these problems. While some Republicans may oust Democrats in future elections, I don't see many with those kinds of credentials. It's sort of a "throw those rascals out and let us rascals in" situation. I agree that most of what is currently proposed is aimed at reducing the population. Shades of Soylent Green.

Dave's Daily Day Dream said...

Back in April, when I was first scheduled for my prostate radiation procedure, the pre-op EKG came back with an anomaly. Something that had been noticed in every EKG I had ever had for the past fifteen years. In any event, the cardiologist refused to clear me for the operation until I had another, more complicated form ($$$$) of the test. The lack of clearance then cancelled the procedure in April. It was rescheduled for this past June.

The point of my story was that the hospital billed Medicare for the cancelled procedure as if it had taken place and they were paid. When I called my secondary insurance provider and the hospital to inquire about this, they seemed to be at a loss as to what to do.

In my opinion there are two things wrong here. First my cardiologist must have had a sailboat payment to make, because he would not clear me for the operation, even though others had in the recent past, and I had survived anesthesia. Secondly, the data entry momentum was probably at fault to submit a claim for services not rendered. There was no real enthusiasm to try to get the situation corrected on the part of the hospital's accounting department. I never heard what happened to the several thousands of dollars which were being moved around.

So what's going on? IMHO, the doctor wanted to cover his rear in any potential liability suit (tort reform needed!) and help his bottom line. The hospital and medicare are so closely tied together via computer that all claims are paid without any corroboration or investigation.

In our complicated society I'm not sure what can be done.

baump said...

I'm glad you were able to use your socialized insurance to address your health problem. But, you support this socialist program? By doing so you are participating in the socialist agenda that you oppose and are pushing our nation further toward a communist takeover. I have a small business and preexisting conditions, but am in my 40s. Where do I get the same quality insurance at a reasonable rate? I can't seem to find it from the private insurance companies. Either everyone should have a public insurance plan or everyone should have to find their own private insurance plan.