Friday, April 5, 2013

The Privatization of Medicare and Medicaid Has Already Happened - Did Anyone Notice?

Universal Health Care was a "noble idea".

Whenever I start to think about politics as a noble profession,
I just remind myself that Michelle Bachmann gets re-elected
every two years and the only thing that stands to become
"Universally Healthy" since ObamaCare has been passed...
is "private insurance companies".

In spite of landmark legislation and a President's re-election,
what began as an earnest attempt by a compassionate Democratic
Party to make health care a "right" instead of a "privilege", has
fallen away faster than Mayor Bloomberg's ban on large size sugary
soft drinks.

While the Fiscal Cliff nearly took us over the edge, Gun Control
was leaving us more armed and dangerous and North Korea and
Syria has been giving us a lesson in good and evil...Medicare and
Medicaid --a very "noble public idea" has quietly and incrementally
become a private battle that is being lost to insurance companies
and Republican leadership.

Beginning in 2014...even though there will be no "Universal Health
Care"...there will "universal payments" made to private insurance
companies by every citizen, business, or by the government for
every man, woman and child in America. This makes as much
sense as asking what time you will get there... on a long trip to

But what is most alarming, is we are losing Medicare and Medicaid
as we know it, to exactly what Paul Ryan and his Republican brethren
were unable to win in the courts and at the ballot turn
Medicare and Medicaid into nothing more than a "Privatized Voucher

After Republican governors from Texas, Louisiana and South Carolina,
who represent the largest percentage of uninsured people in the country,
and have absolutely no plan in place to change that statistic, decided to
pass on accepting an expansion of Medicaid that is 100% paid for by the
Federal government, the Administration was forced to "negotiate" with
Republican governors in more than 13 states, to not have a program
that a nation is paying into, with millions of people still not receiving
the benefits they deserve.

This is like negotiating with someone who is holding the winning lottery
ticket, but won't turn it in... unless you agree to pay the taxes on the
winnings too!

The Republican governors are insisting that the only way they will agree
to extend Medicaid coverage to poor Americans, is if the federal government
pays premiums directly to private insurance companies...instead of offering
the less expensive Medicaid insurance being provided directly by the
government itself.

These Insurance policies will be purchased from the new "Insurance
Exchanges", that are estimated by the CBO to cost the government
anywhere from 15% to 50% more than the government can provide
on its own...with governors asking for the right to waive restrictions
that forbid higher co-payments, deductibles, and maximum coverage.

So many poor people, people who earn a maximum of $15k a year will now
have access to health insurance...but won't use it, because all the costs
associated with their care will no longer be paid under the new program.

For many members of Congress who insist that more Americans pay their
fair share for government services, it is hard to understand why only 5%
of the employees at Popeye's fast food restaurant opted to buy health
insurance because their co-pay of $2.50 a week was a choice they couldn't
afford to make.

Instead of the original hope for Health Care becoming socialized and
civilized...we have Medicaid becoming privatized.

And the prognosis for Medicare, has the patient on the same operating
table. One third of all Medicare patients are currently on the "privatized" Medicare
Advantage Program. A popular program whereby the government is co-paying
premiums along with citizens to private insurance companies to provide
an upgraded Medicare Program to patients 65 or older.

This has resulted in more than 14 million Americans now on privatized
Medicare being co-paid by both the government and seniors.

We had reached the fork the road, with one direction being single payer
and universal health care and we didn't realize we had already chosen the
road that will lead to the complete privatization of "government healthcare".

Socialized and civilized...has lost to "
voucherized and privatized".

How can we call it The "Affordable Healthcare Act" when the very tenet of the
plan is to further privatize health care with higher premiums paid to private
insurance companies by the government and higher private fees paid to doctors
and hospitals for their services when accessed through these programs.

We may have passed ObamaCare, but we have failed to embrace its intent.

We will pay for our meat to be inspected, our children's toys to be tested and
for terrorism to be prevented, but if any of these things actually cause harm
...we don't want to pay for anyone's healthcare, to mend them back to health.

After such a hard fought and momentous battle to pass ObamaCare...we are
seemingly still on our own...and some of us... are more on our own than others.

All of us, except the insurance companies.