What Joe Lieberman got wrong on Medicare

By Mary von Euler
The Washington Post, June 14, 2011


Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman has it backward. While most people would agree with the senator that the wealthy should pay more for health care — applying progressive principles to Medicare funding — he also wants to achieve Medicare solvency by raising the eligibility age to 67, in other words, by serving fewer people and shutting the door to many who would be unable to secure affordable health insurance in the private market.

But, as most experts agree, our problem is the soaring cost of medical care, as a whole, not Medicare, which is the most frugal part of our non-system. And the only way to control medical costs is via a single-payer system that covers everyone, so the government has leverage to tamp down excessive costs and eliminate waste, including the wasteful costs devoted to private-insurance overhead.

Providing Medicare coverage for everyone, regardless of age, is the only way to provide quality health care to all Americans without bankrupting our country.

Mary von Euler resides in Bethesda, Md., and is secretary of Americans for Democratic Action.