Welfare for slackers. Medicaid and Medicare aren’t health care, but entitlements, according to House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Now that his huge tax cut for billionaires and corporations has passed, exploding our deficit, Ryan wants to save money on the backs of the old, the poor, the sick, the disabled — and children — by cutting benefits to Medicare and Medicaid (and then Social Security).
Medicare is our most trusted health care program. It’s not as comprehensive or affordable as it could be, but it’s lots better than most people have before they turn 65. Its public health effects are remarkable — although the United States spends twice as much as other countries, our health metrics are terrible, except for those who have been on Medicare for 15 to 20 years.
Universal health care creates healthy populations, even among the very old. And while private insurance spends 15 to 20 percent of every premium dollar on profits, marketing, executive salaries and huge bureaucracies whose jobs are to protect profits, not health, traditional Medicare spends 1.8 percent on overhead.
Why so low? Because its single-payer approach seeks no profits, and doesn’t need huge bureaucracies designed to ensure profits by denying care.