13 May 2009

2017 Versus Universality – Too Much to Swallow

Earlier this month, the Financial Times and other news agencies reported that Medicare will run out of money – a term which is difficult to understand – earlier than previously predicted. Medicare is now projected to go broke in 2017. Medicare is a government run, taxpayer funded health care system. That it will go broke in the relatively near future should tell the average taxpayer something.

What the Obama administration would like for the electorate to believe is that the looming bankruptcy of Medicare is really a strong message that the healthcare system needs to be reformed and costs need to be lowered. Directly coupled with that argument is universal, single-payer, government administered health care (by some other name, certainly, so as not to scare folks before the ink is dry). If we, the Obama folks claim, only trust in our government, then everyone will be covered under wonderfully administered and egalitarian universal health care. The price tag, according to a post on the Miami Herald’s website, goes something like this: “The current guess is somewhere around $1.2 trillion over 10 years.”

Given the current administration’s panache for spending “somewhere around” amounts in the trillions, one might expect that the $1.2 trillion is a serious low-ball. But the real question is this: how quickly will government administered, universal health care go bankrupt? Could we, the tax-paying American electorate, expect a longer life for universal health care than we already expect for Medicare? Will more people in government health care programs somehow extend the life of all government health care programs?

The answer is, I think, perhaps, but only in that more money will keep the monster alive a bit longer. Also, some folks will become quite wealthy by providing infrastructure to the government. But the people who are supposed to be helped – those who are supposed to get fantastic, world-class, government administered health care will actually see their medical options reduced and their pain (figuratively and literally) increased. In the end, the whole thing will go bankrupt; Medicare is the predictor of this. How many trillions of dollars and how many lives will be spent proving that the result of Medicare (a bankrupt government medical program) will have the same effect once it is grafted onto the whole of the American people?

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