Sunday, November 30, 2008

Reject Medicare and lose Social Security, too

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported The first wave of baby boomer retirees will soon turn 66 and get their first Social Security check. But they won't get Medicare without signing up, soon. That's one Medicare requirement worth knowing. Here's another: Opting out of Medicare is possible – if you don't mind losing your Social Security, too.
I am on both, and happy for both, because I am disabled, and unable to work, and I lost my insurance when the insurance company pulled out of Oklahoma. That is why I liked McCain's idea that you should be able to buy insurance from any company in the country. But I did not realize I had to take both, or none.
Three seniors have sued to change that. They want to pay their own medical costs, and they would abandon the Medicare taxes they've long paid. They don't want, however, to abandon Social Security. Their suit would sunder the two programs, allowing seniors to cover their own medical care without losing Social Security.
If people have the money to pay for their own medical care, r choose to have their own health insurance coverage, why not let them
That, say the three plaintiffs, would ensure the privacy of their medical records and spare them bureaucrats' second-guessing whether every lab test and office visit are “medically necessary.”
My personal experience is that I have never had Medicare say I can't get some test or office visit, but some friends who were foolish enough to signup for a Medicare Advantage plan have found they can't get some things I can get with straight Medicare.
If not, Medicare doesn't pay and the physician, by law, can't bill the patient. Don't wonder why many elderly have difficulty finding a doctor.
I have not experienced that problem. I did encounter one prospective doctor that had a limit on the number of Medicare patients he would accept, but the next one was open to new Medicare patients
No law mandates participation in both programs or none. The Clinton administration instituted that regulation, buttressed by Congress' ban on seniors venturing outside Medicare for any service it provides. These actions make sense only to critics who abhor “two-tier” health care pitting Medicare against private care.

Medicare is universal health care, the same care for all, adequate or not. And as Washington moves toward it, Canada moves away. In 2005, its Supreme Court voided Quebec's rule against buying private health services even if the national health service couldn't provide them in time.
That was smart on Canada's part, and not being allowed to buy outside the system is one problem I see with Universal Health Care.
Medicare, of course, is oversubscribed and underfunded. If a mere 1 percent of seniors left Medicare, within nine years the program would save some $3.5 billion a year. Yet bureaucrats dictate that seniors give up control of their health care or give up Social Security altogether. A lawsuit to stop that is worth pursuing.

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