The current healthcare reform debate has many asking a lot of questions. One such question is “If the government is so good at governing healthcare, then why is Medicare so wasteful?” That is a good question and one that should be answered by the politicians and lobbyists who have made the Medicare system what it is today—going broke fast. For example, most are not aware that Medicare has approved payments of around $5,500 for each of those scooters that are so common on television commercials. For that much money, they could be paying for a four-wheeler and not that cheaply built chair that looks like it is worth about $1,000. This is just one example of waste that the government has approved to pay, but they continually point to physicians, pharmaceutical companies, and hospitals as being the source of waste and inefficiency. However, physicians actually are responsible for only about 10% of the Medicare expenditures.
When Congress approved the prescription drug plan several years ago, the prescription prices were already high, but not nearly as high as they are now and they are so high now that, without insurance, the brand name medications are simply unaffordable for many. A crisis is certainly present, but this crisis of healthcare is one that has been created by the very ones who claim that they can fix it. It should be suspected that this is another means by which the government can take over yet another component of American life.
The many proposals currently on the table are all bloated bureaucracies that are going to waste more money than the current system of Medicare. They should first make the current system of Medicare more efficient by quitting knowingly paying exorbitant prices for equipment, for one suggestion. The body that decides what is going to be approved for payment should be barred from talking to lobbyists and should seek solely to pay fair prices for items that it approves, not what they can get away with paying.
The current healthcare reform debate doesn’t need to stop any time soon because this affects everyone greatly. Given the influence that this has over so many, the bills that they are considering should be readily available to the public for review and a vigorous debate should occur. Patients should be put first, not business as usual.