December 07, 2008

Medicare for Everyone (...Who Wants It)

Barack Obama has indicated that he will be encouraging people to host house parties where the subject of health care would be discussed. The consensus of these house parties would then be reported back to the government and would then presumably be used by Obama as a basis for (or at least input into) a new health care policy. I doubt if I would be able to host or attend one of these parties, so I will communicate my opinions via this blog.

I believe that the most effective approach to covering everyone in our country would be to open Medicare anyone who wants to opt into the system. The premiums and reasonable co-payments should be the only out-of-pocket costs for a patient. For example, a person with no insurance coverage who shows up at an emergency room should be provided whatever medical care they require and then be billed only for some back premiums (Obama has advocated this) and the co-payment -- never for the entire cost of their medical care. Most importantly, no one should ever be denied coverage by Medicare. Finally, I think that members of Congress and Federal employees should be switched to Medicare themselves so that they are in the same boat with those whose healthcare they will be regulating.

This would not inhibit people from purchasing private insurance -- either instead of Medicare or to supplement Medicare for a more gold-plated coverage.