Our American health care system clearly has problems. Americans pay almost twice as much for health care as any other similar country, but the U.S. ranks only 37th in health care outcomes. Every year, 45,000 people die from lack of health insurance. Reform is clearly necessary.
But for decades, Republicans have disregarded these problems and obstructed every attempt to solve them. And now, the GOP has voted to destroy Medicare, even though that system is more efficient than private insurance companies. They claim it's too expensive, but that's only because costs in the entire health care system are out of control. The Republican plan would increase costs, and shift them from government onto older Americans.
Rather than destroy Medicare, we would do better to extend to every American the opportunity to join in Medicare Plus--using the Medicare structure but, unlike seniors, paying their own way without government subsidy. If private insurers really are superior, then they have nothing to be afraid of. But if not, then we could gradually turn the public option into a single-payer system providing universal coverage to every American at lower costs.
The results are in: our health care system delivers less bang for more bucks. It's time for a new approach that provides quality service, saves money and saves lives.