Thursday, July 5, 2012

Keep Talking About Healthcare

There are 124 days to the presidential election.  The republicans had wanted to keep the focus of discussion on the economy.  Remarkably, they are making sure that won't happen.  The focus of discussion will be on healthcare.  And, it should be!  For the next 124 days we should all keep our focus on healthcare.

Here's some reasons why healthcare should be the #1 topic of the presidential campaign:
Annual healthcare expenditures:  $2.6 trillion
Medicare:  $525 billion
Medicaid:  $401 billion

The population is getting older.  The baby boomers are starting to come of age.  Medicare will only get bigger.  A significant proportion of Medicaid dollars pays for the elderly to be in nursing homes.  In fact, Medicaid finances over 40% of all long term care services.

So, what does this all mean?  It means that our legislators have to stop ignoring the growing cost of the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  They are here to stay and they are only going to get bigger.

Why should people read my blog?  Because I am a geriatrician and a business person.  I have a unique vantage point to look at our health care situation.  For the past 12 years I have made multiple attempts to share my experience with legislators and bureaucrats, to no avail.  I cofounded a Medicare only primary care practice when other doctors were fleeing closing their doors to Medicare patients.  We were successful.

Those who can, do.  Those who can't, become politicians.  If we don't get our act together, we will bankrupt our country.  The politicians can't have it both ways.  As they talk about reducing Medicare expenditures, they can't blame the other side for "taking away your Medicare".  Besides, our legislators really don't know anything about Medicare.  But I do!

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