Thursday, October 22, 2009

Medicare for Everyone A Bad Idea

It appears the House Democrats are looking at re-branding the public health insurance option as Medicare...for everyone.

Hospitals, clinics, MDs cannot survive on an expanded Medicare. Medicare reimbursements are smaller than most medical insurance reimbursements. Medical business models include a certain number of Medicare patients, just like retailers plan on a certain amount of shrinkage. But few opt to go Medicare exclusive.

(What's even worse is Medicaid. It is medical reimbursement for medical services provided to the poor, which includes students to illegals. Refunds are about 10 cents on the dollar.)

Medical businesses -- for-profit or not-for-profit -- are basically forced to see a certain number of Medicare patients a week, month or year. They know going into it that they are not going to cover their actual costs. Without government mandates, many would opt out. Many will continue to do their parts to help those that need the medical care but cannot afford to pay the actual cost.

As Obamacare unfolds, call it what you'd like, it will force medical organizations to provide medical services at the rates the government sets. Some will adapt. Medical service providers will see more patients over a given period of time (less time per patient). We will see decreases in salaries for office staffs as well as trained medical professionals like nurses and medical assistants. The MDs will most likely make less money. It is only reasonable to assume fewer people will decide to practice medicine -- medical education is not cheap and being able to pay back those loans will be more ominous.

It is a given that many medical service providers will go out of business. Some MDs will leave the practice. With less money in the space, medical device, equipment and drug manufacturers will see less opportunity and incentives.

Universal health care is typical Democrat touchy-feely. "Medical insurance for all" sounds so kind, compassionate and inclusive. It is until it is delivered. We'll be asking ourselves: "is this what we agreed to?"

The current insurance-driven model is broken but the pending Congressional replacement is worse. Medicare for everyone a bad idea for patients and providers. It is bad idea for the country -- for our businesses and individual taxpayers.

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