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The Great Bipartisan Health Care Lie Comes Home to Roost


Republicans and Democrats finally agree on something: making health care more expensive for seniors. Currently, seniors who are insured through Medicare usually pay for some of their treatment out of their own pocket. But not all payments are the same. When their care is from a hospital, they pay one kind of deductible; when it comes from a doctor’s office, they pay another. As the WSJ reports, there is growing support in both parties for combining two types of deductibles into one:

Senior House GOP aides said it was among the deficit-reduction options the White House and Republicans have discussed in the past. They also said President Barack Obama indicated he was open to the idea when he met recently with House Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Combing the two types of deductibles could save the federal government $10 billion by 2015 and $110 billion by 2020. The catch? “For most seniors, the net effect would be an increase in their out-of-pocket expenses.” Health care prices going up for the old is certainly a change from the normal rate hikes on the young, but they’re both equally unfortunate.

Both parties have been complicit in wholesale lying to the American people about the kind and cost of the health care they will get after retirement. They promised far more benefits than was responsible; now reality is increasingly forcing cuts in once sacred programs. The proposal to combine deductibles is just one example of this.

We don’t really know what health care is going to look like in coming years. But we know one thing for sure. More promises are going to be broken as reality overtakes the lies and delusions the parties have been peddling for decades. And we’ve got some advice for readers old and young who have figured out that our politicians will say anything and do anything to cling ignominiously to jobs they refuse to do: work and save. They can’t pay the benefits they’ve promised and they won’t. You need more money for your retirement years than they tell you, and you can’t count on Uncle Sam to bail you out. Work as long as you can and save as much as you can. There are no 100% guarantees of anything in this life, but common sense usually helps.

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  • Anthony

    See George Halvorson: “Health Care Will Not Reform Itself.”

  • Andrew Allison

    Surely it’s obvious:
    a. That Medicare/Medicaid are unsustainable.
    b. The difference between what the taxpayers can afford and what it costs must come out of the hides of providers and recipients. Unless of course we deal with the farcical situation that less than half of private insurance premia are actually spent on care.

  • Lorenz Gude

    @Andrew Allison Yes, that one half situation is significant. Overall the US spends about twice as much on health care as what other countries spend as a percentage of GDP for essentially the same outcomes. Australia where I live spends 8.5%, the US 16% capped by the Obamacare legislation to 17% by 2017. An recent article in Time entitled Bitter Pill explains it in painful detail. The thing that gob smacked me is that the medical industry spends more lobbying Congress than the notorious defense industry.

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