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PNHP RESOURCES

Medicare at the Crossroads

The Economic Policy Institute
Paycheck Economics, Vol. 1, No. 4

"One attractive option that could provide insurance to the uninsured while maintaining high-quality care for those who have insurance is to expand Medicare to the entire population. The Medicare benefits package would first need to be fully modernized to include prescription drugs, preventive care, improved mental health and substance abuse services, and better cost sharing.

"There are advantages to this plan besides providing universal high-quality care. Having Medicare as a single insurer or "single payer" would greatly streamline the paperwork done by physicians, hospitals and other providers. Multiple investigators, from experts at the U. S. General Accounting Office to professors at Harvard University, have estimated that these savings would pay all the costs of providing insurance to the 44 million Americans without it.

" Not only would it be more efficient, but such a system would also help keep costs low, thus slowing the growth in future health care spending overall. An enhanced Medicare program for all Americans -"Medicare for All" - is the best way to provide universal high-quality health care."

Note: This excellent eight page analysis of Medicare explains the program, its problems, wrong solutions such as HMOs and vouchers, and the "right regimen for healing Medicare." It can be downloaded at: http://www.epinet.org/Paycheck/medicare.pdf