Sunday, December 16, 2012

Expand Don't Shrink

Medicare protest 
Photographer:  Scott Olson
Protestors demand increased taxes on the wealthy and voice opposition to cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid during a demonstration in Chicago on Thursday, Dec. 6th, 2012.

Via PNHP, Dr. Carl Berdahl writes to the Los Angeles Times explaining how to rein in Medicare costsThat is, expand rather than shrink.
Aside from partial measures like allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices, the best way to assure Medicare's fiscal stability is to improve and expand the program to cover all Americans. The resulting single-payer system would slash wasteful paperwork and bureaucracy, yielding savings of up to $400 billion annually. Furthermore, young and old alike would have a clearer stake in sustaining a single, equitable system.
With the amount our nation spends each year on healthcare, we can afford to provide universal coverage. However, we choose not to. Instead, we waste money on private health insurance companies. While Medicare allocates just a few percentage points of its revenue to overhead, private companies spend about 15% on overhead and profits.
We should expand Medicare, the nation's most efficient health insurance system, rather than cutting it.
Health care workers recently walked off the job in Spain protesting aggressive privatization of hospitals.  Dr. Sanchez Bayle from Madrid tells Counterpunch readers from North America: 
The right to health care is a peoples’ right and should be defended as such. What is happening in Spain today may seem far-off to the people of the United States, but the world is globalized and interconnected. Every advance or retreat which happens in one part of the world has a repercussion for us all. Help can come in spreading word of the struggle so the problem is known, and also demonstrating solidarity through demonstrations in front of Spanish embassies and sending signed protest letters to entities and people in the government of Madrid.   
 Below, from Euronews:

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