Thursday, May 18, 2006


In Defense of Private Medicare

Canadian Conservatives, the majority of them, have long pined for the United States health care system. A user pay system with market forces at work and for-profit hospitals and HMO raking in large profits. A system where you get billed for Kleenex and band-aids. Many claim, especially the young breed, that they are perfectly healthy and there is no reason for high taxes to support someone else common cold.

The vast majority, not all, of these Conservatives have well paying jobs with extended health and dental plans so really the employer will pay, so privatize away. Of course, this doesn't take into account the huge pressure this places on the employer. The best example of this scenario is General Motors (GM). GM is literally dying from their mounting health costs and is staring at large, unfunded retirement health benefits. Now, in the United States this issue is not a private sector problem.

US Taxpayers will soon get a surprise bill that could exceed $1 trillion for the cost of paying future medical benefits for state and local workers who retire. Retiree medical costs are the biggest long-term challenge that state and local governments face. By comparison, state and local pensions have an unfunded liability of about $500 billion. State and local governments have set aside $2.5 trillion to help pay pension benefits for 19 million civil servants and 7 million retirees. But they have set aside almost nothing to pay for retiree medical benefits.

Minnesota State Auditor Pat Anderson sums it up best. She says that taxpayers will revolt when they realize the enormous cost of this:

The financial burdens on local governments will be so great they will put pressure on the federal government to nationalize health care.

Anderson, to be clear, opposes such an idea. She is simply trying to sound the alarm bell. Fix the leaky *health care system* or it will have to be nationalized to save money. This would be a catastrophe. Providing the 45 million Americans with basic converge. How dare they suggest such a thing?

The figure of 45 million is for Americans without health care insurance, not health care coverage as you would like your readers to beleive. Those without insurance coverage actually have basic health care with medicare and medicaid. It may not be perfect but I'll bet the wait times are lesds than in our "utopian" health "scare" system.

Horny toad
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