Comments about ‘In our opinion: Medicare in crisis’

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Published: Sunday, Aug. 4 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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VST
Bountiful, UT

From the Article: "That is no way to run a national health care system… It's long past time…for Congress to get serious about fiscal responsibility, and that includes reforming how entitlements are funded and getting serious about dealing with the long-term costs of the Affordable Care Act."

Sad, but very true.

You are now going to see a barrage of comments to this editorial that "…it is the Republicans fault or it is the Democrats fault." But the bottom line is this: Attempting to make "political hay" over this issue does NOT solve the problem.

SLars
Provo, UT

Is Medicare an entitlement?

Pensions, medicare, social security. It seems like the American taxpayer is being fleeced by business and government. We pay all our lives to see our work stolen from us.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

Doctors need to make money. This is an absolute truth. And Doctors need to be, and should be reasonably compensated for their services. But as one who is caring for both my own as well as my wife's aged parents. I see a lot of warts in the system. It has become completely clear that there are some doctors that have turned themselves into medicare mills. While they do provide decent care for their patients, they are more than willing to act as referral hubs for specialist... whether that be testing or other medical practices.

It is not uncommon for us to have 4 or 5 doctors appointments a week scheduled. I am constantly asking the providers now why, and what they expect the outcome to be of a particular test or treatment. Often I find that these test are fishing expeditions, and even sometime just to placate the elderly, to make them feel they are doing something.... when the reality is sometimes aging is very unforgiving.

The problem needs to be address at many different levels. Doctors sometimes are as much the problem, as they are the cure.

Nate
Pleasant Grove, UT

"That is no way to run a national health care system."

The real question is whether there should *be* a national health care system.

"Political realities make it impossible to repeal the act."

And yet repeal is the first step toward any good solution.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

If we get our medical costs down to the level of Germany, or France, or Japan, or Australia, or any other developed country, there would be no Medicare crisis. It would also solve most of our long term budget problems. Americans pay almost twice as much for medical care as do residents of all other developed countries. We don't seem to get anything in exchange for all of the extra spending.

LittleStream
Carson City, NV

First, as a Social Security and Medicare recipient, I'm getting increasingly tired of hearing of these termed "entitlements" when I paid into them every payday while I was working.

Second; we need one program in this county that is supported by the government. One for everyone. Congress, the president, everyone should have one program.

Third; what happened to the Doctor's oath that they do no harm. I guess you do no harm if it doesn't get in the way of profits.

Shane333
Cedar Hills, UT

Let us consider some social welfare programs that the government runs:
Social Security: going bankrupt and seeking more taxpayer dollars
Medicare: going bankrupt and seeking more taxpayer dollars
Medicaid: going bankrupt and seeking more taxpayer dollars
Does any rational person actually believe the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare will be any different?
Something else to consider: Most doctors that accept Medicare set quotas limiting how many Medicare patients they will serve. Why? Doctors LOSE money with every Medicate patient they serve. Expect more limits from doctors regarding Medicare (and Obamacare) patients that they'll serve, besides those who drop Medicare patients altogether. The health care crisis is about to get a lot worse.

FDRfan
Sugar City, ID

Socialized medicine is fast approaching. We need to be working on a viable option to ACA or just accept it and work with it. There is no going back to the way it was.

Legal?
Saint George, UT

There is an EASY fix to this. For example, a surgeon's fee for a total hip replacement may be $5,000. Medicare/Insurance's predetermined and advertised reimbursement for that procedure code may be $1800. The surgeon should be able to bill the patient for the remaining $3200. If the patient is unable to pay the balance, that is between the surgeon and the patient...no government or insurance involved. This "balance billing" is not allowed under current Medicare and insurance rules.

The amount of reimbursement per procedure from Medicare or insurance should be the same in every part of the country. Not necessarily the same from company to company or Medicare, but the same throughout the country. If a doctor practices or a patient chooses to live in a rural area or large city, it shouldn't matter.

With a set amount of reimbursement available from Medicare/insurance (known prior to the procedure), patients can plan and wisely use their own resources to make up the balance. Cavalier use of the medical system would abruptly stop, Medicare procedures would be greatly simplified and those using medical service would be paying more of their "fair share."

Shane333
Cedar Hills, UT

SLars,

Insightful comment. Consider that one person has to be robbed/fleeced/taxed in order for the government to provide welfare services such as Medicare/SS/Medicaid to another. The insidious nature of it is that the situation pits one generation against another. Senior citizens fight/vote to ensure that the government keeps taxing/fleecing younger generations to preserve the government provided welfare services for the senior citizens.

l.cee
Ridgefield, WA

The opinion article basically said we don't like that doctors won't be paid as much and therefore there may be less available to serve the Medicare patients...and so something needs to be done. It would be nice to have read what they would suggest congress do specifically. And just repealing the cuts to the doctors was not a valid suggestion as was pointed out since they realized the congress would never get the law changed to do that.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

If we put medicare patients, and every other person in the nation, into a single payer health care system we could get costs under control.

FreedomFighter41
Provo, UT

Sounds to me like the bloated cost of insurance is finally taking its toll. Time to move to a single-payer system. Rather than let insurance companies goug let everyone pay a certain tax to have everyone covered and treated.

Shane333
Cedar Hills, UT

LittleStream,

It is with some pity that I must inform you that you never "paid into" anything while you were working, unless it was your own 401K program or your own healthcare premiums. All those Social Security and Medicare taxes were just that, TAXES. Your taxes paid for those who were on the receiving end of the ponzi scheme. Now you are on the receiving end of the ponzi scheme. Problem is, the ponzi scheme is collapsing in on itself. Historically that pretty much always happens with ponzi schemes.

Shane333
Cedar Hills, UT

UtahBlueDevil,
Doctors often engage in a lot of unnecessary testing because they know that if they don't, they risk being sued for "not doing enough". It's one of the reasons why doctors have such high insurance costs associated with their practice.

wrz
Pheonix, AZ

@LittleStream:
First, as a Social Security and Medicare recipient, I'm getting increasingly tired of hearing of these termed 'entitlements' when I paid into them every payday while I was working."

It's an entitlement to many recipients who paid in little or nothing.

"Congress, the president, everyone should have one program."

There is but one program for Congress and the president... When eligible, they go on Medicare as a primary. They can also chose a secondary insurance to cover what Medicare doesn't... same as everyone can.

@Roland Kayser:
"If we get our medical costs down to the level of Germany, or France, or Japan, or Australia, or any other developed country, there would be no Medicare crisis."

Don't worry, Obama is working on getting medical costs down... Once Obamacare is up and running, the government will start deciding what you can and cannot eat to keep you healthy... and how much exercise you will need to get... etc.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

"But the choice is clear. Either let the cuts take effect and anger doctors who, after all, need to turn a profit," A more correct statement would be: the HMO's doctors work for need to make a profit. Big difference. This is why many of us wanted a single payer system, medicare for all, something like Canada has. Canadians have shown no inclination to dump their system in favor of the U.S. hodgepodge. As a senior citizen I fear an attempt to cut us off from health care. We will see to it that there are political prices aplenty before that happens, even if it means a race between accelerating chronic illness and action. People have rights and they have limits.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

We ARE getting entitlement reform in ACA--the spending cut and the tax increase are intended to bring Medicare back to balance. Everybody knows it has to be done, so why all the caterwauling?

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

If Irony Guy is right, then this editorial is incendiary. If so, for what purpose?

sergio
Phoenix, AZ

Every American citizen should have the right and opportunity, and obligation, to work for paid employment ( workfare and not welfare); and a right and access to an education; and a right and access to health care, all provided and guaranteed under a national program..

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