Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Medicare will bankrupt America

The Sarah Palins of this world think that countries like France have ‘socialized medicine’ – when in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Then again, the Sarah Palins of this world think that America is allied with North Korea, so perhaps she's not the sharpest crayon in the box!

Burial Insurance: Republican policies make funeral insurance for seniors the most cost-effective form of supplemental coverage.

Nevertheless, unlike the 'true' socialized medicine of the National Health Service in the UK, France has private hospitals, doctors and clinics much like in the United States – only it’s the government that pays for medical treatment; not the insurance companies. Although conservatives may faint at the prospect, it is worth pointing out that France is rated as having the best health care system in the world as a result.

And interestingly enough, their system even incorporates the dreaded ‘copay’ of American health care – with the government covering about 80% of the cost of treatment and the rest coming ‘out of pocket.’ This small degree of accountability is presumably what keeps the French system ticking along while Brits continue to abuse and bankrupt the NHS.

What’s notable about France is the growth of supplemental insurance companies – who bridge the cost between what the government pays and what you’re expected to shell out for out of pocket.

This exists to a degree in America, with companies like MedicareSupplementalInsurance.com covering the difference between what those on Medicare have covered for them by the taxpayer and what they’re expected to pay for themselves.

I was wondering whether this coverage could be expanded.

I think it will have to be. You see, the biggest black hole in America’s federal budget isn’t the military, social security or any of the inconsequential bug bears of the fiscally conservative Republicans. It’s Medicare.

As more and more Americans start signing onto government funded health care (something the government itself is largely responsible for, allowing profitable companies like Wal-Mart to get the tax payer to cover their employees medical bills) the more the gap widens between what the government’s promised to pay and how much they can afford (and in America's defense, this is something occurring in the French system as well.)

Some projections put the Medicare in deficit to the tune of $35 trillion. $35 trillion dollars! It puts the pathetic $100 billion in spending cuts the Republicans are calling for sharply into perspective.

The fact is – unless we start doing something to reign in medical costs and figure out how to pay for the medical care the government has promised, the only way out will be to burn America to the ground and claim on the insurance money!

1 comment:

Expat mum said...

As Fareed Zakaria said on his excellent show the other night, it's often because of the gross inefficiency in the systems. Perhaps if it could all be streamlined and done properly in the first place (see current rant on my blog) it wouldn't be so damn expensive. And the government is the most inefficient system of the whole lot!