A Senator’s Health Plan

by Lesley Politi on November 19, 2008

Re “Senator Takes Initiative on Health Care” (news article, Nov. 12):

The proposal by Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, is a partial step in the right direction, most notably with his common-sense suggestion to expand Medicaid and Medicare, two publicly financed, mostly privately delivered programs.

Medicare has just a fraction of the bloated administrative costs of private insurance, which slices 30 percent off the top for profits and paperwork, much of it spent on denying needed care.

Unfortunately, the Baucus plan has several poison pills: it would force everyone not presently covered to buy private insurance, and revives the discredited McCain plan of taxing health benefits for many employees, which would push some workers from employer-sponsored coverage into the shark-infested private market.

Both steps would buttress and further enrich the health insurance industry, which hardly needs the help, and fail to solve the health care crisis.

Millions of Americans have found out the hard way that access to coverage is not the same as access to care. A better, more cost-effective approach would be to simply expand Medicare to cover everyone, the only real way to assure guaranteed health care for all.

Source: newyorktimes.com

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