Op/Ed: Medicare For Bernie and The Absentee Father

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Bernie Sanders, currently third in the 2020 Democratic polls, is strongly promoting "Medicare for All," and claims to be its father, "I wrote the damn bill," he proclaimed to the nation during the second round of Democratic Presidential debates.

 

More like absentee-father. His plan does not look like Medicare at all. It appears that he hardly knows anything about Medicare. He probably has no experience with it. Despite his advanced age, he does not need to depend on it. Members of Congress are allowed to receive Medicare benefits, but unlike most other Americans, they can receive other benefits in addition.


 

Op/Ed: Money Can’t Buy You Health


Sitting members of Congress can get routine examinations and consultations from the attending physician in the U.S. Capitol for an annual fee. And military treatment facilities in the Washington area offer free emergency medical and dental care for outpatient services.

Members are also eligible for the Federal Employees Health Insurance Program, and they won't be kicked off as soon as they reach Medicare age. They do have to go through an ObamaCare exchange, but it is a small one, the DC Health Link, which reportedly functions well. There are 57 gold-tier plans to choose from, not one or two as in many states. Their portion of the premiums could be as little as 25 percent of the total premiums. Apparently, subsidies for senators don't run out just because their salary exceeds 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

Funding for Medicare for All will apparently be vacuumed up from all other sources of payment for "healthcare," and will go into the big collective pot. Then people can get everything without premiums, copays, or deductibles—so they say. This is not at all like Medicare.

Medicare Part A, for hospital care, is funded through the Medicare payroll tax: a 2.9% first-dollar tax—no deductions--on all employment income, half of which is paid by the employer. Seniors believe that they have been funding this through their working years, as they are constantly told. They have indeed paid, but their taxes were immediately used to pay for the care of older retirees.


Op/Ed: Sacrificing Freedom to Vaccination


So, their hospital bill today will be paid from the wages of about 2.5 workers (say the persons pumping their gas, collecting their trash, and repairing their plumbing). Already that is not enough, so the IOUs in the "trust fund" are being redeemed from general tax revenues. That fund will soon be gone, according to the Medicare trustees, as Baby Boomers are flooding into the system. It would vanish in a nanosecond if we loaded in everybody, with or without illegal immigrants.

Medicare has long been implementing ways to curb runaway expenditures. From the mid 1980s comes the Prospective Payment System, or Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs), under which payment has nothing to do with services rendered to a particular patient. According to my 1985 "Ode to DRG Creep":

            "Now the pay's by the head, if alive or if dead,

            Diagnosis determines the money,…

            We need costs less than average, and discharges quicker

            We will get no advantage -- For care of the sicker."

Since "quicker and sicker" discharges might cause a need for readmission, the government penalizes hospitals for readmission. One way to prevent readmission is to discharge to hospice or directly to the morgue. If Bernie were an anonymous Medicare patient, he'd get a consultation on POLST. That's Physicians Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, which translates in the Newspeak Dictionary to "Legally Enforceable Orders to Terminate Life-Sustaining Treatment Including Food and Water."


Op/Ed: Mental Health and Kim Jong Un’s Nuclear Button


Bernie might think he had been admitted—say he had an IV in a hospital room. But if he gets discharged before his second midnight, he might be classified as an outpatient, which is covered under Medicare Part B, and get a "surprise" bill for thousands of dollars, because of the "Two-Midnight Rule."

Or Bernie might expect to have a little rehab after an orthopedic procedure, but if he is in hospital for fewer than three midnights, rehab isn't covered. He might have the choice of paying out of pocket, or going home where he will be alone, unable to get out of bed.

Yes, Bernie on Medicare will have free choice of doctors—except for the ones who aren't accepting Medicare patients.

If Bernie himself were stuck on Medicare with no way out, he might think it not so wonderful. Has anyone heard him tell people about these Medicare problems?

Maybe he means the Canadian Medicare system. It does have a way out for non-senators—called the United States.

 

 

Bio: Jane M. Orient, M.D. obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. She completed an internal medicine residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital and University of Arizona Affiliated Hospitals and then became an Instructor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and a staff physician at the Tucson Veterans Administration Hospital.


Op/Ed - Eugenics, Euthanasia, Infanticide, and Religion


She has been in solo private practice since 1981 and has served as Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) since 1989. She is currently president of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. She is the author of YOUR Doctor Is Not In: Healthy Skepticism about National Healthcare, and the second through fifth editions of Sapira's Art and Science of Bedside Diagnosis published by Wolters Kluwer. She authored books for schoolchildren, Professor Klugimkopf's Old-Fashioned English Grammar and Professor Klugimkopf's Spelling Method, published by Robinson Books, and coauthored two novels published as Kindle books, Neomorts and Moonshine. 

More than 100 of her papers have been published in the scientific and popular literature on a variety of subjects including risk assessment, natural and technological hazards and nonhazards, and medical economics and ethics. She is the editor of AAPS News, the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness Newsletter, and Civil Defense Perspectives, and is the managing editor of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Haute Tease

  • Beltway Insider: Trump Presents State of the World; North Korea; Merkel Reelected; Mexico City/Puerto Rico

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump addresses the United Nations General Assembly this week preaching the same America First campaign that propelled him into office to a world deeply concerned over his brash and unconventional methods of communications and taunting messaging.

     
  • GOP Endures Hell Week

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Republicans are licking their wounds as hell week continues to burn through their strongholds after twin scandals erupt and a bland rebuttal to an unexciting State of the Union address fails to ignite the conservative fires.

     
  • World News: Militaries Stockpile Weapons, Increase Spending, in Global Build Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Would not the increase in world military spending be the expression of an underlying fear brought on by the upheavals of globalization? Unless humanity returns to instinctive defense reflexes that refer to the dark hours of history.

     
  • A Fine Artist’s Saga: The Fascinating Journey of Pinque Clark

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Pinque Clark is no stranger to a challenge, from pop-up shows to shooting a boudoir series to art exhibitions in Italy, the Boulder-based photographer has immersed herself in a range of interesting and compelling work.

     
  • Steyer Calls on California to Pass Critical Police Reform Bills

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Climate activist, NextGen America founder, and former presidential candidate Tom Steyer released the following statement calling on the California state legislature to pass a suite of police reform bills including legislation to decertify police who become criminal offenders.

     
  • Money News: The Bear Returns, Dow, European Markets Suffer; Asian Markets Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The DOW Jones Industrial Average, struggled to get up under the heavy losses that refused to let up as this third Monday of fighting off the bear was met with a slow steady uncontrollable decline and finally the week was over.

     
  • Beltway Insider: ObamaCare Implosion; JFK 50th Remembered; Philippines Aid Trickles In; Virginia Senator Attacked

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Barack Obama’s greatest legacy, that of a universal healthcare system that would guarantee all the access to medical care, has proven to be his worst nightmare and potentially the destruction of his legitimacy.

     
  • Peshawar Death Toll Rises; World Leaders Express Outrage

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The death toll continues to rise in the Taliban lead assault on the Peshawar Army Public School that left 126 students, from first through tenth grade, confirmed dead and another 124 injured, as the scene remains an active hostage situation.

     
  • Hungarian Parliament Declares State of Migration Emergency

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Hungarian Parliament passed a law last week that gave the government the right to declare a state of migration emergency to cope with the tens of thousands of refugees crossing the border which bring military and legal powers to police.

     
  • Election 2020: Bernie 2020 Announces California College Tour (Rallies This Week)

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Bernie 2020 announced today that it will hold a three-day college tour through California starting on Monday, February 10, including stops at three campuses with national surrogates Phillip Agnew and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez.  

  • New York City Opera Opens Season with Triumphant Production of Anna Nicole, Co-Produced With Bam; Announces Major Fundraising Appeal

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    New York City Opera will open its season on September 17th with the opera Anna Nicole, by composer Mark-Anthony Turnage and librettist Richard Thomas. The Opera is a co-production with BAM, and will open both companies’ seasons.

     
  • Whole Foods Market® Celebrates Hemp History Week June 3-9

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    AUSTIN, Texas (May 28, 2013) –Whole Foods Market is celebrating Hemp History Week June 3-9 by spotlighting more than 300 hemp products, ranging from non-dairy milks and cereals to soaps and supplements.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump Attends G20; Redefines Position; NASA; Scalise/ICU; Grenfell Tower Investigation

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump has once again fumbled Presidential protocol and allowed his daughter, a positioned adviser to the President, to take his place during meetings with G7 Heads of State at the recent G20 Summit.

     
  • Five Dallas Police Officers Dead; Seven Others Injured in Peace March Ambush

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Five Dallas Police Officers have died and seven others injured in an ambush as a protest over the recurring use of excessive and deadly force against unarmed African Americans turned violent leaving a city and nation stunned.

     
  • HL Health, Wellness: Feeling Less Than Frisky - Ten Foods to Get You In the Mood

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Valentine's Day is rapidly approaching and instead of making reservations to some over-hyped trendy spot, stay in and prepare a "Lover's Platter" full of indulgent aphrodisiacs guaranteed to heighten our interest in a full dessert menu making it a steamy night to remember.