August 13, 2012 by David K. Sutton
Medicare: We the People give away our Power when we Privatize Public Services
In addition to our elected officials, we should apply this logic to privatization as well.
We the People are giving away some of our power every time we allow a public service or institution to be privatized.
Let’s use Medicare as an example.
We have a Republican ticket (Romney-Ryan) that would have no problem privatizing Medicare. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal would turn Medicare into a voucher program. They would send you a coupon to buy health care insurance from a private (for profit) insurance company. Clearly this is less efficient since the current Medicare system has very low administrative overhead compared to private insurance. Medicare also does not exist to make a profit. It exists solely to provide insurance coverage to senior citizens. If you believe everyone should have access to health care, you will soon conclude that in the world of health care insurance, profits are unnecessary waste in the system. So if it’s true that Medicare is more efficient than private insurance, where do the savings come from in Ryan’s plan? The voucher will only be worth half of current Medicare benefits, and this gets worse over time. That means Ryan’s plan cuts Medicare costs by asking senior citizens to cough up the difference.
Medicare is a public service that well over 80% of Americans approve of. If Medicare turns into a program that operates in service of private insurance company profits, how is that in service of the people? And in the bargain, we the people lose control of our cherished health care insurance program for senior citizens. Right now Medicare operates in the open. You might feel like you have little control over how Medicare operates but you have zero control over how private insurance companies operate.