Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Obama's Health Care: Government VS. Private Sector

"PRESIDENT Obama's new budget dedicates $634 bil lion over the next 10 years to what he calls health reform. He promises - or perhaps threatens - that this vast sum will be a down payment for universal coverage, which could require more than $1 trillion.

...The president's budget repeats the popular claim that 45.7 million Americans are uninsured. The figure is taken as proof positive that the current system is failing - and that the government must step in to provide a remedy.

But that misleading number includes millions we can hardly call uninsured. About 18 million of the uninsured make more $50,000 a year - and almost 10 million have yearly incomes over $75,000. More than 10 million aren't US citizens. And as many as 14 million are already eligible for government programs like Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP - but haven't signed up.

After all, the feds reimburse hospitals and doctors at below-market rates for Medicare and Medicaid patients. So those of us with private health plans have to pay more to fill the gap - and that hidden tax is about 10 percent. In California, for example, private payers paid an extra $45 billion to compensate for unpaid Medicare costs in 2004.

Obama's budget also takes aim at prescription-drug costs by forcing manufacturers to give Medicaid a bigger discount, probably 20 percent, on brand-name drug purchases (it already gets a 15 percent break). That might help curb Medi caid's expenses, but it will raise drug prices for everyone else, who will have to make up the difference.

I just don't feel I have it in me to be redundant enough to re-state all the reasons government shouldn't be handling people's health care... So just read the article.

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