Bernie Doesn't Understand Health Care

January 27, 2016

 
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Bernie Sanders proposes Medicare-For-All. His health care proposal includes six new taxing streams, the end of private insurance and employer-sponsored coverage, and $28 trillion in new federal spending.
 
Bernie says “We need to build on the strength of the 50 years of success of the Medicare program.” What strength? Medicare has a $43 trillion unfunded liability. Since 2008, Medicare’s expenses have been higher than its revenues. Today’s recipients are unwittingly eating into their grandchildren’s Medicare. Fully 10,000 people are enrolling – every day.
 
This means rationing. Already Medicare patients are slated to become part of an Obamacare experiment in 67 metropolitan areas (the list). In this five-year “test,” hospitals that spend more than a federally-determined cost for hip or knee replacement “episodes of care” must pay the government back!
 
The “episode of care” also includes most care given to the patient for any other reason until 90 days after discharge. Medicare’s description
 
The episode includes all related items and services paid under Medicare Part A and Part B for all Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, with the exception of certain exclusions.
 
Will this mean lower-quality joint replacements to cut costs?
 
Hospitals publicly told Medicare it couldn’t compel hospitals to participate, but the administration issued the rule anyway, saying patients will be warned in case they wish to go elsewhere.
 
Right.
 
When will Medicare patients hear about this experiment – before or after they break a hip? What ambulance will take them to a non-metro hospital?
 
Bernie also wants to “build upon the success of the ACA.” But only 12 state exchanges exist, 12 co-ops have died, premiums have skyrocketed, only 10 million are expected to enroll, insurers are dropping out, and previously insured people are going uninsured.
 
Bernie blames health plans for high costs, but his proposal acknowledges, “Bernie was on the U.S. Senate committee that helped write the ACA” -- the law that mandates health plans for all.
 
Does Bernie really dislike health plans? From the Kennedy/Nixon HMO Act of 1973 (HMOs for employees) to G.W. Bush’s 2003 Medicare Advantage (HMOs for Medicare) to Obama’s ACA in 2010 (HMOs for all), managed care has been the method de jour to nationalize health care. Now Andy Slavitt, former executive of the nation’s largest HMO (UnitedHealth Group) is running the Medicare administration and imposing “managed care” rules on everyone.
 
Would Bernie really be able to run Medicare for All without health plans? I don’t think so.
 
In freedom,
 
Twila Brase, RN, PHN
President and Co-founder