As the Nov. 7 election nears, senior citizens have been treated to a
host of Medicare-funded prescription drug plans offered by the
candidates of both major political parties.
I have a better idea. Instead of adding another huge, expensive,
inefficient and burdensome layer of bureaucracy to the bloated Medicare
program, let’s just scrap it instead and begin to teach Americans once
more how to be self-sufficient and plan for their own retirement.
Crazy? Politically, perhaps, but that’s the problem with Medicare in
the first place, isn’t it? It’s too damned political. As long as
it stays that way — which will be forever — then the program will
remain broken, expensive and inefficient.
Think not? Well, consider that Medicare has been a government-run
program from the outset. Through the years, has it become better
or worse at delivering on its original promise of unfettered,
universal health-care coverage for senior citizens?
I dare say if it was getting better, both major party
candidates wouldn’t be spending so much time in Florida and elsewhere,
trying to explain a new drug benefit package that is simply going to be
too expensive on our youth and younger workers in just a few years.
It’s free market “cause-and-effect,” much like the government’s
guarantee for student loans. Prices for colleges skyrocketed when
politicians began “guaranteeing” loans for college-bound Americans — as
if every American really does “deserve” to go to college or is suited
Speaking of medical care, the “guaranteed payment” principle once
applied to hospitals and insurance companies. At one time, patients with
any kind of insurance were often admitted to hospitals for
dubious and inappropriate conditions. Many didn’t require
hospitalization, but doctors admitted those patients anyway because they
knew insurance companies would simply write a check for the bill. The
result? Escalating medical costs and draconian insurance “reform”
measures in the mold of problematic HMOs.
Voters should not allow lawmakers to foist yet another burdensome
layer of Medicare bureaucracy on our children, grandchildren, and
great-grandchildren. They won’t be able to afford it.
Granting more “subsidies for initial levels of drug spending will
only increase incentives to over-use Medicare benefits and increase the
cost of prescription drugs,” wrote Tom Miller, director of health policy
studies at the Cato Institute, on July 17, in discussing the House
Republicans’ prescription drug plan.
He’s right. Medicare is incapable of being “fixed” as it is.
Enlarging it will only make it worse — and more expensive — which will
eventually cause Uncle Sam to cut it back again, just to “save
money.” It’s a vicious circle, and it’s getting us nowhere except
further in debt and more reliant on Washington’s “generosity.” To hell
Medicare was a bad mistake. We can repeat it — over and over — or
we can scrap a program whose time never came.