Thursday, March 11, 2010

Even NPR Knows It's A Bad Time For HC

“We need to recognize that what threatens this ship of state is the ice that's below the water in the iceberg,” David Walker told NPR yesterday. “It's not today's $12.4 trillion in debt. It's the $50 trillion in unfunded obligations for Medicare, Social Security, other commitments and contingencies that we don't know how we're going to keep…”
For example, “in Medicare, I think we have to recognize… that there are actually three Medicare programs. There's Medicare Part A, which is hospital insurance, which is funded with a payroll tax, and there are B and D, which are physician and out-payment and prescription drugs, which are voluntary programs funded with a combination of premiums and general revenues and state contributions.
“The first thing we have to do is recognize that under Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D, billionaires receive subsidies for voluntarily signing up for those programs. That makes no sense… we should have more means-tested premiums than we do right now.
“We need to also be able to have more competitive bidding with regard to Medicare. We need to move away from the fee-for-service payment system. We need to move more towards evidence-based medicine. We need to do something with regard to malpractice. We need to move to electronic records, more integrated-care systems, a number of things that not only apply to Medicare, but also have to apply to our overall health care system.
“And last, but certainly not least, we need to learn the lessons of every major industrialized nation. We need a budget for how much taxpayer resources we'll allocate for health care. We're the only major industrialized nation that doesn't do that. Every other country has recognized that it'll bankrupt you if you don't.“

No comments: