Personally I would set the goal a lot lower to start with. As a country, there is NO widespread consensus and understanding that Medicare is a financial problem going forward. How many people do you think understand they are going to get ~ $ 3 of benefits for every $1 they pay in? The answer is not close to zero, IT IS ZERO.In general, if you do not admit you have a problem, you are unlikely to solve it. In some cases, problems solve themselves over time. In the Medicare case, I am not optimistic the financial challenges will go away on their own. Scott Burns and Lawrence Kotlikoff have been beating the drum loudly on this issue, but the word is getting out slowly. For today, I would be happy if all of the constituent parties would agree on the well quantified financial challenges facing Medicare. In talking this over with a lot of regular folks, darn near ZERO of them understand the challenges. I do NOT think you can get very far on the solution(s) until a lot more people buy into the problem.BTW, I do have a vested interest in Medicare. We buried a good family friend last week. He likely deceased BECAUSE of Medicare. Medicare pays a fixed number of days to the hospital for a given illness code. Past that, the hospital is NOT reimbursed. Same for the doctor’s charges. Long story short, the man was discharged from the hospital. In less than 24 hours at home, he was literally turning blue from a lack of oxygen. After he was re-admitted to the hospital, he never recovered. The infuriating point about this man is that the discharging doctor did NOT give the family the option of keeping him in the hospital. The family could have and would have written a $10,000, $100,000 or $1,000,000 check if they understood the risk of sending the man home early. Clearly this is the exception and I would not expect doctors to offer that option to the families on a regular basis. Not many families have that kind of financial resources available.Let’s solve problem ZERO before we get into the solution set.Thanks,Yoda
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