Obama: Keep your government hands off my Medicare!
Spawned by some old geezer's remark to “keep your government hands off my Medicare,” a lot of people on the left – including President Obama – have been trying to maximize their mileage out of the statement. Most left-wingers have pointed out that seniors love their Medicare government-administered program, and that – by extension – Americans should love government controlling all health care.
Of course seniors love Medicare. Because the geezers are getting something for nothing. If I had a magic sack like Medicare where I put in pennies and pulled out Benjamins, I'd be pretty happy with it too. Most current Medicare recipients worked their first 20 or even 30 years without contributing to the program, and they get the full benefits of it. You don't get a better deal than spending someone else's money.
But if you are under 55, it's a raw deal. I'm 43-years-old and I've been paying 2.9% of my pay toward Medicare for 26 years – and have never received a penny of benefits. So has my wife. That means our family has been putting close to $3,000 per year into Medicare … for nothing. That's a pretty rotten deal for us. In fact, I can't think of a worse deal than paying thousands for nothing.
“Oh, but when you retire, you'll like it,” I can just hear the socialists among my readership say. They're assuming it will even be there. Obama himself has said that Medicare may not be there for me when I retire. “Our deficit will continue to grow,” Obama told a New Hampshire “town hall” meeting last week, “because Medicare and Medicaid are on an unsustainable path. Medicare is slated to go into the red in about eight to 10 years. I don't know if people are aware of that. If I was a senior citizen, the thing I'd be worried about right now is Medicare starts running out of money.” I'll love it when I retire? Yeah, right.
Even if Medicare is miraculously solvent for me when I hit 65, it's still going to be a raw deal. My wife and I will have paid $3,000 per year for 45 years into that system. Invested at interest, that kind of money would buy a heck of a lot of health care in the private sector. I'm betting it'd buy me a much better deal than Medicare, a program that doesn't even cover all the health care needs of seniors. Even without interest, my raw dollar investment would be around $135,000. Would Medicare shell out that much? I doubt it.
Medicare currently costs almost five percent of the nation's GDP, which is a big reason why health care costs so much in America. Medicare bilks doctors and hospitals for its costs and mandates, which often results in losses to hospitals. These losses that have to be made up by the rest of us when we go to the doctors. There are other reasons as well, not the least of which is malpractice insurance for doctors. That costs in the high five figures every year for doctors, and more for some specialties. If a lawyer like James Sokolove can profitably advertise on television saying “When doctors make mistakes, I make them pay,” that makes us all pay more.
As much as most people on the left are touting how government health care is so much cheaper and more efficient than private insurance, Obama has been undermining them by admitting the program has been wasting money hand-over-fist. “So I already talked about $177 billion worth of subsidies to the insurance companies,” Obama told that New Hampshire audience last week of the Medicare subsidy for insurance companies, adding, “There's about $500 billion to $600 billion over 10 years that can be saved without cutting benefits for people who are currently receiving Medicare, actually making the system more efficient over time.” That's the efficiency model that needs to be expanded, according to the left.
President Obama made a big deal of the geezer who yelled at Congressman Bob Inglis “Keep your government hands off my Medicare.” Yeah, he's right that the geezers shouldn't be saying this.
But those of us under 55 should be. After all, it's our Medicare because it's our money they're spending. So Obama: Take your government hands off my Medicare!