Medicare at 50 - Still Flawed, After All These Years

 

***NEWS RELEASE***

For Immediate Release
July 27, 2015

CONTACT:
Deborah Hamilton, Hamilton Strategies, 215.815.7716, 610.584.1096, ext. 102, or Beth Harrison, 610.584.1096, ext. 104,Media@HamiltonStrategies.com

 

Medicare at 50—Still Flawed,

After All These Years

 

Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom Says After Five Decades,
Medicare Needs an Escape Plan, Not a Rescue Plan

 

ST. PAUL, Minn.—This Thursday, Medicare will mark a milestone—50 years since it was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 30, 1965.

Designed as part of LBJ’s “Great Society” initiative, Medicare was intended to provide low-cost hospitalization and medical insurance for the nation’s elderly. But the program has been in crisis for years and needs an escape plan, not a rescue plan, says Twila Brase, president and co-founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF, www.cchfreedom.org), a national organization dedicated to preserving patient-centered health care and protecting patient and privacy rights.

“Medicare is yet another government health care program that is severely flawed,” Brase said. “Problems abound, even after 50 years in existence. And any solution for the Medicare crisis must be based on American principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility. But before we even try to rescue it, we must ask ourselves, ‘Is it even worth saving?’”

Brase says there are three reasons Medicare may indeed not be worth saving.

  1. Medicare is a Ponzi scheme. The first recipients received their promised benefits in full. For example, in 1966, nearly 20 million people entered the program without paying a dime. Today’s recipients have seen the promise falter. According to author Sue Blevins in “Medicare’s Midlife Crisis,” seniors are paying almost as much out of pocket now as they were before Medicare began. And for future recipients, the working young, the promise is made of air. Medicare insolvency is expected in 2030.
     
  2. Medicare has always been severely under-funded. Consider the 1.45 percent payroll tax that funds Medicare Part A (hospitalization insurance). After 45 years of work, a person earning $35,000 a year has contributed only $22,837 for what could be 15, 20, 30 or more years of Medicare in-patient services. Moreover, nonworking spouses pay nothing into the program but are still entitled to receive benefits.
     
  3. Medicare is big government at its worst. Fifty years of entitlement spending has led to an enormous federal bureaucracy, a blizzard of paperwork requirements, bureaucratic controls on the practice of medicine, more than 130,000 pages of oppressive Medicare regulations, numerous reimbursement-based rationing strategies, the nationwide imposition of managed care and a national budget crisis.

“But attempts to do away with this very broken program is the unpopular choice, as entire industries depend on Medicare staying in business,” Brase said. “Moreover, the very idea of bidding farewell to Medicare strikes fear in the hearts of seniors.”

Yet, Brase said, exposing a few little-known but disturbing facts about Medicare may change their minds:

  • Congress prohibits Medicare patients from paying cash to receive treatment denied by Medicare, unless the doctor agrees not to take Medicare payments for two years.
  • Citizens who refuse to sign up for Medicare Part A (hospitalization) lose all Social Security benefits. Citizens who disenroll must repay benefits received.
  • Congress is paying Medicare HMOs (Medicare Advantage) 18 percent more per senior than what is paid through traditional Medicare, perhaps to entice seniors to HMOs.
  • Congress has begun paying Medicare bonuses to doctors who comply with government and HMO treatment directives.
  • Imagine the future. As seniors flood into Medicare, scarce federal dollars will become scarcer. Health care rationing will likely, by necessity, be instituted.

“America needs a Medicare escape plan,” Brase said. “With millions of lives at risk, thoughtful, innovative measures must be put in place soon. While some fixes could temporarily relieve Medicare’s budget woes, it may unfortunately distract Congress from implementing more effective, long-term, life-affirming measures, such as repealing the Medicare prohibition against cash payments, mandating that health insurers offer lifetime insurance policies, and allowing and encouraging voluntary Medicare disenrollment without penalty.

“The United States needs a bold new vision for health care,” she continued. “The real question is not whether to save Medicare, which is still flawed after all these years, but how to rescue those dependent on Medicare while building a bright Medicare-free future for all Americans.”

For more information about CCHF and its “5C” Solution for Health Carevisit its web site at www.cchfreedom.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cchfreedom or its Twitter feed, @CCHFreedom.

Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, a patient-centered national health freedom organization based in St. Paul, Minn., exists to protect health care choices and patient privacy.​ CCHF sponsors the daily, 60-second radio feature, Health Freedom Minute, which airs on approximately 350 stations nationwide, including 200 on the American Family Radio Network and 100 on the Bott Radio Network. Listeners can learn more about the agenda behind health care initiatives and​ steps they can take to protect their health care choices, rights and privacy. 

CCHF president and co-founder Twila Brase, R.N., has been called one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Health Care” and one of “Minnesota’s 100 Most Influential Health Care Leaders.” A public health nurse, Brase has been interviewed by CNN, Fox News, Minnesota Public Radio, NBC Nightly News, NBC’s Today Show, NPR, New York Public Radio, the Associated Press, Modern Healthcare, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Washington Times, among others. She is at the forefront of informing the public of crucial health issues, such as intrusive wellness and prevention initiatives in Obamacare, patient privacy, informed consent, the dangers of “evidence-based medicine” and the implications of state and federal health care reform.

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For more information or to interview Twila Brase, president and co-founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, contact Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, or Beth Harrison at 610-584-1096, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com.

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