The dark side of Medicare
August 13, 2009
I read with interest the Aug. 6 letter to the editor from Stefan Edlis in one of the Aspen papers, titled “Follow the Medicare example.” Mr. Edlis extols Medicare as a model government-run health care insurance program, enabling him to access health care for which he has “never paid a dime.”
What Mr. Edlis fails to mention is that the trustees of Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Fund recently estimated that the fund will run out of money by 2017 and that projected deficits over the long term for the fund are in the neighborhood of $30 trillion. Yes, that’s trillion, not billion. In other words, Mr. Edlis enjoys Medicare because our children and grandchildren will be paying the dimes (and dollars) he isn’t paying.
Under these circumstances, it is no wonder that seniors are satisfied with the Medicare program. Like Mr. Edlis, seniors generally are able to get the health care treatment they need at little cost while Medicare itself goes bankrupt. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour was right to express concern about a government-run plan in his recent remarks at the Aspen Institute. Medicare is not a sustainable model for the fiscal health of the nation, let alone for health care reform.