As Medicare Turns 50 on July 30, New Book Exposes Medicare's Problems and its Victims
"Medicare's Victims: How the U.S. Government's Largest Health Care Program Harms Patients and Impairs Physicians" Tells Tales of Harm to Patients, Struggles by Doctors
Explains Why "Medicare-for-All," as Proposed by Some Politicians, Won't Work
Washington, D.C. - "As Medicare nears its 50th anniversary, there will no doubt be much celebrating among politicians and pundits on the left," says Dr. David Hogberg, senior fellow and health care policy analyst at the National Center for Public Policy Research. "Yet Medicare has a sick underbelly. Exposing the problem and reporting the true facts about this program should be the media's main focus. There is no reason to sugarcoat this program. It's broken and my book explains why."
Dr. Hogberg's new book, "Medicare's Victims: How the U.S. Government's Largest Health Care Program Harms Patients and Impairs Physicians,"* shows that Medicare often fails to provide quality health care to patients.
"The media too often overlooks the many victims of Medicare, in part because Medicare has achieved this mythic status as a wonderful government program," says Dr. Hogberg. "This book reports on the program's many flaws, providing the reader with a more balanced view of Medicare."
"Medicare's Victims" tells the intimate stories of patients and physicians who have struggled with Medicare's policies. They include:
- Clay Bell, whose death was hastened because Medicare denied the physical therapy he needed to slow the progression of his Multiple Sclerosis.
- Sean Plomann, who suffered in agonizing pain while languishing in Medicare's waiting period for the disabled.
- Donna Dennis, who came very close to suffering a stroke because she could not afford her medication after falling into Part D's donut hole.
- Dr. Scott Braddock, who, despite getting stellar results with his hard-to-treat diabetes patients, had to close his practice, thanks to Medicare.
The book also recounts how the American Hospital Association and Federation of American Hospitals used Medicare to stop competition from physician-owned specialty hospitals, although such hospitals often provided the highest quality of care.
"The book is also timely because there are some more liberal politicians who are now pushing for a 'Medicare-for-All' single-payer system," says Dr. Hogberg. "Specifically, Senator Bernie Sanders recently called for such a system. The book yields insight into why such a system wouldn't work."
"Medicare's Victims" shows that the beneficiaries who do get good treatment under Medicare are the ones who have the ability to influence Congress on Medicare policy. That generally includes senior citizens, who vote at rates higher than almost any other group.
"Under a system of Medicare-for-All, resources would flow to those with political power," says Dr. Hogberg. "The problem is that people without political power will lose out, and they are likely to be some of the sickest patients."
"For starters, there are relatively few people who get seriously ill each year, too few, in fact, to have much impact on Election Day. Second, because of their health, they aren't going to be organizing, protesting and doing other things necessary to influence Congress. And finally, some of them are so sick that they won't be around for the next election. Given that, it is inevitable that sicker patients are most likely to suffer under a system of Medicare-for-all."
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for free issue alerts here.
* Copies of "Medicare's Victims" are available to the working press and health policy experts. The best way is in electronic form such as PDF, Kindle or ePub. However, paperback copies are available upon request.