A few weeks ago, Dick Donnelly wrote about a difficult personal situation (the death of his wife) that was eased somewhat by the $800,000 medical bills being taken care of by his "two government plans, Medicare and Tricare" (letter, Sept. 27, "'Public option' for health insurance would force 'realistic' fees").
I'm glad that particular aspect turned out well for Donnelly, but I have to take issue with some of his statements regarding his "government plans."
First, Tricare is not a government plan. It is administered by Humana, a private health care insurer, under contract to the Department of Defense. Thankfully, it is not run by the government.
Secondly, while Medicare is indeed a government-run program, before singing its praises, Donnelly and all of like mind need to understand that "the government" did not pay his bill. If Donnelly pays taxes, then he paid for that bill, as did I and all other taxpayers. The government has no money; it takes ours.
Additionally, when Medicare provided our money for Donnelly's bills, in essence, it provided an IOU because Medicare is what is known as an unfunded liability. That means it is a debt; it has no money and is deeply in the red for trillions of dollars.
According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, Medicare has six times the unfunded liability - I repeat, six times - of the more widely discussed Social Security. They also project that by 2075 the liability will reach $32.4 trillion (that's $32,400,000,000,000 for your grandchildren) and will consume 80 percent of our nation's Gross Domestic Product. At some point, in the near future, program cuts and tax increases will be required.
Donnelly contends the so-called "public option" is the answer to fixing the health care system. I fully agree the system is in dire need of major revamping. However, the public option, which is basically government-run health care, is not the answer.
It should be readily apparent to the most casual observer that the government is incapable of running much of anything efficiently.
Trillions of dollars in the hole and increasing by millions daily, the current unfunded liability of Medicare is unsustainable and to add to this huge debt burden is insanity. Anyone who has the most basic grasp of this country's economic structure should be able to recognize this.
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