Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Heavy Hand of Government

Healthcare, Political, Quality of Life, U.S.

We have a good example of what we may experience as we move down the path of government-run health care.  Part of Medicare is called Medicare Advantage and it consists of Medicare sending the amount that would've been spent on the beneficiary to an insurer that then provides enhanced coverage to the beneficiary.  I belong to a Medicare Advantage program as do some 25% of all Medicare recipients today.

Democrats have had a less-than-favorable opinion of Medicare Advantage plans and, as such, they have threatened funding cuts (that is the $500 billion they talk about) in Medicare Advantage programs in order to find "savings" to get the CBO "score" down under $1 trillion over ten years for health care.

Humana, one of the insurers that offers Medicare Advantage plans made a mailing to their covered people advising them that the cuts being discussed could have an impact on their enhanced benefits if the current health care reform bills were passed.

Uncle Sam didn't take to that letter too kindly.  Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) made a complaint to the White House and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid.  Being a politically-driven organization, the Medicare group responded by issuing a cease and desist order against Humana and advised that an investigation would begin in days.  This organization has the power to arbitrarily terminate Humana's ability to handle Medicare and other government health care programs.  Those programs account for a significant part of Humana's overall earnings, so the warning has some very signifcant implications.

As you might suspect, this got Humana's attention...and it got the attention of every other health insurance company, as well.

This is a real life example of the power that government already holds over the health care of nearly 50 million people under Medicare.  Imagine the clout that will exist when they provide, or control, the health care for every U.S. citizen.

The heavy hand of government should not be readily welcomed in the day-to-day delivery of our health care, but it will be there if this program goes forward as currently constituted.

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