Fixing Medicare before we implement Medicare-For-All is not brain surgery.
One of the nation’s greatest inventions was Medicare, an act that was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 30, 1965. In theory, it means that after age 65 one has their medical care covered by a national health care system — not unlike other civilized countries with universal-single payer programs (except those countries cover everyone).
With Medicare there are no more worries about paying—except for the part where you actually pay for care. And get billed for care you shouldn’t. And wait on the phone for hours seeking help. And told to wait until symptoms appear before getting a COVID-19 test. And find out dental is not part of the deal. And get invoices from the US government. And the ER is not free. And it takes months to get an appointment.
Once you get the hang of Medicare, you realize before you get any form of care you have to tell the potential provider that you don’t want any surprise costs to which they will say, “But we won’t know the costs until we examine you, sir.”
Does all this dampen my enthusiasm for Medicare? Far from it. Yes, there are still glitches to be worked out in the system. 100% of care should be covered since that is what civilized countries pay taxes for. We also need to make sure that there are enough providers to serve in calm times (if such times ever return) and during a pandemic (equipped with protective gear, staff for contact tracing, tests and hospital beds).
I am confident that each state will eventually design a unique system that creates a glitch-free and much-loved Medicare-For-All program so 100% of residents are protected in this era of colliding crises. We have other things to worry about during an economic free fall, right?
Fixing Medicare before everyone gets Medicare-For-All is not brain surgery. And if it is, at least we‘ll be covered.
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Please excuse any typos as I construct an article at 3am on only one cup of Joe. These stories are mine and mine alone. I do not represent any organization here. If one of my illustrations looks like a real human or three-headed hydra, that’s total coincidence. Words and images ©Dominic Cappello but share with everyone you know. Questions? The Plan Forward awaits you here: www.tenvitalservices.org