Medicare remains model for universal health care

By William R. Reed, M.D.
Lake Geneva (Wis.) Regional News, Letters, Aug. 27, 2015

I am writing about the difficult situation of health care in the United States. 

As Medicare turned 50 years old on July 30, 2015, it remains a model for providing universal health care for all U.S. citizens. It has low administrative costs, about 4%. 

It provides free choice of providers. And it has high satisfaction rates among those enrolled.

There is enough extra money in the current investor-owned and dividend-driven private health insurance system to provide Medicare for all with no extra cost. Two common misconceptions are worth correcting. 

Medicare is not socialized medicine. The collection and payment of monies is publicly directed, but the provision of health services is by private parties. This is the way it is in most economically advanced countries. 

Secondly, Wisconsin Gov. Walker's recent public proposal to solve the health care crisis by providing "vouchers" for individuals to buy private health insurance is a failed idea. 

Nowhere has this idea worked. It is untested and unproved and dangerous. It would be like having individuals use vouchers to buy private police, fire, health department, or court system services. Politicians are obligated to answer: why would Enhanced Medicare for All, as in House Bill HR 676, not work for the U.S.?

Dr. William Reed resides in Lake Geneva.