So Medicare is beginning to curve a bigger pie in national debate nowadays. It is getting so contentious that politicians lose votes depending on their position related to it. The real problem, as we all know, is not only Medicare. It is the whole health care system.
I have been in health care business for more than 20 years. I’ve witnessed its peak and now its lowest point. And because I have been part of it, I often wonder how it fell under. Who are the culprits?
Any health care plan is designed to insure that its subscriber receives medical/health care if s/he gets sick. Like any other insurance, with contributions and premiums, it is meant to provide comfort and peace of mind. But with Medicare, something wrong happened along the way. First, the cost of care became exorbitant largely due to high degree of technological advancements, Research and Development, expensive litigation and lawyers catering to lawsuit-driven consumers - these are just a few of the contributing factors to its high cost. As one Doctor puts it, what will happen if lawyers and Doctors and politicians and all other health care practitioners see trillions of dollars available out there? Of course they will spend it.
And it is very easy to blame doctors and lawyers and chief executives and politicians for all the health care woes but as I delve deeper into this, I also see the patient or consumer a part of the problem. Through the years, an increasing amount of people live with total disregard to good health because they have a false self-assurance that their health benefits will ‘take care of everything’ if they got sick. That is a dangerous belief. We have arrived at a point where who owns and guides our health is not ourselves anymore but some outsider. We have lost our control because drugs and surgery and therapy took the helm of our lives.
We have given up our ‘Self‘ as the main judge, juror and executioner of our health. We have lost control over our lives. The fact that ? of the US is obese is a sign that most of us have stopped owning our lives and allowed junk food, over-indulgence, inactivity, doctors, prophets of easy-fix, imbalanced lifestyle dictate us. Even now, we seem to think that the resolution of our health care crisis rely heavily on Washington.
Imagine this, if all Americans will try owning their health, if they, from now on will live healthy lives barring accidents and genetic predispositions, we will not even be talking about health care crisis in our future. To me, health insurance is only needed when absolutely needed. I will probably get so angry with myself if I suffer from a health condition because of my own negligence, over-indulgence, lack of discipline or lack of knowledge. To own our health, we must first learn what it takes to have good health. The next step is to have enough determination to achieve or maintain the best health possible within our means. The third step is to get habituated to the notion that there is nobody out there who will determine the course of our lives, especially our health except ourselves.
...As an example of the problem, according to theAssociated Press, the average wage couple jointly earned $89,000 annually in 2010. Upon attaining eligibility for Medicare and retirement in 2011, they would have paid in $114,000 in Medicare payroll taxes total. But their expected average medical services, including prescriptions are expected to cost $355,000, about three times what they paid in. When the last of the Baby Boomers retire in about 2030, 80 million people will be expecting coverage; the ratio of tax payers supporting the system is expected to drop from today’s 3.5 for each person, to 2.3....
...The fundamental problem is that the ratio of workers paying Medicare taxes to retired people drawing benefits is shrinking, and at the same time, the price of health care services per person is increasing. Currently there are 3.9 workers paying taxes into Medicare for every older American receiving services. By 2030, as the baby boom generation retires, that is projected to drop to 2.4 workers for each beneficiary. Medicare spending is expected to grow by about 7 percent per year for the next 10 years. As a result, the financing of the program is out of actuarial balance, presenting serious challenges in both the short-term and long-term....