The premise that making seniors pay more medical costs, i.e., $6,400 deductible insurance plans, will reduce their use of medical services is not credible (Jeffrey Miron’s Sept. 9 column, “Fixing Medicare will require nation’s seniors to pay more”).
He uses such terms as “people would economize on health care and shop for lower prices,” “patients are insensitive to costs and demand ever more health care,” “excessive utilization … unnecessary tests … too much surgery.” Some of these abuses may exist, but I question if they are driven by the request of most seniors in Medicare.
Most of us have doctors whom we trust as a result of years of experience and respect for their professional competence. When our doctor refers to a specialist or directs to a hospital for tests or procedures, how many of us would say, “First let me see a comparative price list?” Or who of us would ask, “Doctor, do you really think that is necessary?”
There may be some who run to the doctor too frequently for the slightest sniffles, but I think the greater number of seniors do not. We turn to the doctor when there is a genuine need and having to pay $6,400 deductible won’t change that.
Medicare needs to be fixed perhaps by employing methods used by Kaiser-Permanente and Mayo and the efficiency of single payer systems. Miron’s premise of more senior “skin in the game” doesn’t do it.
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