Stacy Childs: Medicare for all would be costly for all
December 5, 2018
I applaud Tuesday's letter to the editor from Vail Kozatch regarding creating a Medicare-for-all system. I am glad that she has taken an interest in fixing a broken system.
The Affordable Care Act made our wrecked system worse off and more expensive, despite promises to the contrary. Health care in this country is unaffordable for many and wasteful of many resources. Fraud and abuse, unrealistic charges for pharmaceuticals and insurance prices are but two of the problems.
The eight bullet points that Vail Kozatch believes will be "gone" under a Medicare-for-all program would be wonderful, but, let me give you a few others.
• Doctors delaying retirement — gone
• The brightest students being recruited to medical school — gone
• Having office staff such as receptionists, billing clerks, office managers, coders, sufficient nursing staff — gone
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What many outside of the medical profession do not realize is that Medicare pays providers — physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants — between 20 and 30 cents on the billed dollar. Virtually all Medicare and Medicaid patients are, at best, a wash in a provider's office. Providers of care are able to deliver their services and take home a paycheck solely on the backs of commercial insurance carriers' payments.
Medicare-for-all sounds nice, but if commercial payers are "gone," so will your doctors be "gone," and an office that has plenty of nurses and personnel to help solve your medical needs, sadly, will be totally unaffordable and, thus, "gone."
Unfortunately, our broken system benefits insurance companies, large hospital chains and pharmaceutical and device companies, which control your Congress with their unlimited pocket books and lobbyists. We can only hope that more people like Vail Kozatch will take an interest in a realistic solution.
Alas, Medicare for all would have to cost taxpayers at least three times the current projection to be successful in this country.
Stacy J. Childs, M.D.