By Joe Bolkcom
Time to wake up and smell the snake oil! Medicare was created to solve a problem. In old age, people need health care services. This is pretty much guaranteed.
Private health insurers want to insure people who are healthy and avoid paying claims. Medicare covers every senior (sick or well) at very low administrative costs because the free market insurance companies can’t do it and make a profit. That’s why Medicare was created in 1965.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to take away the health and economic security of Medicare for people under 55 years of age and for all future seniors. They falsely and dangerously believe that sending seniors out to buy their own health insurance policy will create more competition among insurance companies and this will make care better.
We currently have the most competitive, free market health insurance system ever devised in the history of the world for people under 65 years of age. How is that working? For the past 40 years, health care costs have increased annually at two to three times the costs of virtually everything else in the economy. Up to 50 million Americans can’t afford insurance. Health insurance costs are killing small businesses.
Every American pays more than twice that of any of our industrialized neighbors that have national health care systems. And by many wellness indicators, including life expectancy, we trail countries with national health systems badly in keeping people healthy and alive. We have free market competition gone wild in health insurance and we really can’t afford any more of it.
Medicare has strengthened all families and made the country stronger for almost five decades. Turning future seniors and their families’ health and income security over to private insurance companies and their Wall Street investors is a colossal mistake.
Today’s Medicare recipients who benefit from having comprehensive health care now have a responsibility to keep this system intact and strong for future generations. We must reject this cynical and radical Romney-Ryan plan to divide current Medicare recipients from their younger family members and future generations of hardworking Americans who will need this incredibly important government organized program.
If we allow them to privatize Medicare, Social Security will be next.
Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, is state senator in District 39. Comments: Joe.Bolkcom@legis.state.ia.us