The New Republic: The Long March to Medicare
The fiftieth anniversary of the most successful government health insurance program in the country, if not the most successful health insurance program period. No other health insurer has provided more health insurance to more Americans than Medicare. And perhaps to more people in the world than Medicare. My issues with Medicare is not that the program exists at all, which is the libertarian argument against it. Or that it is a government-run health insurance program. But my issues is with how the program was set up. And the reason why it was set up, is because that is the best that Democratic Congress with Republican help from the minority could come up with in 1965.
We are a huge country that is between two of the largest oceans in the world. And that is just the mainland United States and back in 1965 we were a country roughly one-eighty-million people or so. And today we are pushing three-hundred-twenty-million people. And yet we set up two new huge health insurance programs that are to be run by one central authority in this huge country. Instead of bringing in the states to run their share of this program for their state. Or to create one health insurer that everyone could be eligible for. Not forced on them, but have a new public health insurer that everyone could sign up for and pay into if they choose to. Along with putting money down along with their employer so they are guaranteed health insurance in their senior years.
The original Affordable Care Act of 2009-10 that was passed by the House of Representatives in fall of 2009 had a public option in it for Medicare. Meaning people under Medicare age could sign up and pay into Medicare before they retire and before they are 65. That amendment was taken out of the Senate in the early spring of 2010. So the final bill that was passed on March of didn’t have the public option in it. So Medicare is still the largest health insurer in the country if not world and yet it only covers seniors. The least healthiest population of the country and makes it very expensive to run and pay for. You give middle-age and young adults and their kids the option to be part of Medicare and you would see millions of Americans sign up for Medicare. Which would bring down the costs of Medicare, because you would have young healthy Americans as part of the program.
Yes Medicare has been a very successful program because it has guaranteed health insurance to millions of Americans who otherwise wouldn’t have had it. Or would’ve ended up moving to the poor house, or having to sell everything that has value to them in order to get health care in their senior years. But this program could be so much better and so much more cost-effective and not so top-down. And allow for middle-age and young adults to cover themselves and their health insurance through Medicare. As well as similar to Medicaid bring the states in and allow for them to set up their own Medicare program where all of their citizens would be eligible for instead of just their seniors. And we wouldn’t need a Medicaid, or a Children’s Health Insurance Program, because those customers could take Medicare. Which is a much better program anyway.