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Health Plans Feeding At The Medicare Trough

Armen Hareyan's picture

Bob Laszewski has a great post from yesterday debunking the myth of Medicare Advantage and Medicare private fee for service.

Both were supposed to help reduce Medicare's costs via a short-term subsidy enabling private insurers to get into the market, figure it out, and use their free-market skills to improve on a moribund, bureaucrat-run government health care program.

Instead it has turned into a gravy train for insurers, who have been getting fat on the subsidy. Meanwhile, physicians are facing a cut of 10% in Medicare reimbursement.

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For once it would be nice if the so-called free market advocates would wipe the (taxpayer-subsidized) gravy off their multiple chins before they start spewing peans to capitalism.

Bob asks this key question:

"If the HMOs really want to effectively defend Medicare Advantage they need to demonstrate value. Where is the industry data showing that after five years in this recent version of Medicare Advantage, and 20 years all told in the program, the private sector delivers a better cost/quality result?"

I'd add they damn well better come up with a strong case and soon; health reform is coming. Between recissions, medical underwriting, and medicare advantage/pffs private insurers are making a compelling case - for single payer.

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