Monday, May 11, 2009

Fix Medicare – Don’t Nix It!

I’m a Republican, a conservative, and the recipient of Medicare benefits, and I appreciate the coverage, and I have benefited from it on a few occasions.

My Democrat friends, for years, have been accusing me and my fellow Republicans that we want to do away with Medicare. That canard couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are the facts.

No right thinking (no pun intended) Republican wants to get rid of Medicare, but we want to reform it so that the vast amount of abuses, waste and inefficiencies can be funneled back to the recipients, who it was originally intended to help in the first place, not the crooks and charlatans who are milking the system dry now. If all the waste, corruption, and gaming of the system were controlled, we and our children and grandchildren could look forward to a viable Medicare system in the future, but our “wuss” politicians don’t want to rock the boat before it sinks like the Titanic. Shame on them!

How can any citizen justify the fact that Medicare is being ripped-off regularly by con artists, doctors, lawyers, and unscrupulous equipment providers. Here’s an example; an oxygen concentrator is a device that delivers oxygen through a tube to patients, and it costs about $600 on the open market. Medicare beneficiaries typically rent the machines. The rental period, set by statute, is $198.40 per month. So renting an oxygen concentrator for 36 months cost $7,142. As with most items and services in Medicare Part B, beneficiaries pay 20% of the costs, and Medicare pays the remaining 80%. The government, therefore, pays $5,714, almost 10 times the free market price of purchasing a concentrator outright. The patient pays $1,428 – more than twice the free-market price of a purchase. This is just one of the many examples of the waste and inefficiency of our present Medicare system which amounts to billions of dollars of wasted money, year after year.

Can you imagine the waste and inefficiency that will occur if we attempt to carry the concept of Medicare coverage to all 300 plus million of our citizens under the socialist banner of “Universal Health Care”? The concept is an honorable one, but the practical carrying out of this plan would be a disaster, as the present Medicare system shows us. It would have unintended consequences like rationing of health care, long waiting lines, and a bureaucrat determining what health care is best for “you” and your family.

Whenever any officials or politicians have tried to cut these wasteful costs, they have often encountered a powerful foe, the companies that sell these devices and who have been ripping us off, by mobilizing their elderly clients to serve as unpaid lobbyists by having them call or write their representatives in Congress, and by participating in protest rallies. In fact, every four years the Democrats use the Medicare “scare tactic” by falsely claiming that the Republicans want to do away with Medicare, when all they want to do is to reform it and make it fiscally sound. Meanwhile, the Democrats have not, in all the years they were in control of Congress or had a Democrat President, done anything to fix the problem, and then have the nerve to blame the Republicans for trying to abolish Medicare, when, in fact, the Republicans were the ones who have“touched the third-rail” of politics by proposing to fix the broken system, much to their chagrin. Other than raising taxes and cutting benefits, what solutions have the Democrats proposed. Nada, nil, zilch, nothing, that’s what. The word hypocrisy is spelled DEMOCRAT.

We have been brain-washed into thinking that if we have a single-payer government-run health care system, that the care would be “free”, as in “free health care”. As noted humorist and polemicist, P.J. O’Rourke, once stated, “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s “free”. If people think they are getting something for “free”, they don't value it as much and they tend to overuse it, which is what is happening today. So, let’s Fix Medicare, Not Nix It.

Written by Chuck Lehmann
"Chuck on the Right Side"

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