Thursday, July 30, 2009

Medicare

The health care debate continues. Supposedly the Blue Dogs in the House came on board, yesterday, to one of the proposals, although the Times has a headline this morning that Americans are losing faith in Obama's reform proposals.
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The bill creating Medicare was signed by President Johnson on July 30, 1965.

In "The Marvel That is Medicare" (here), Marie Cocco argues that Medicare is the most successful program that the US government has ever created, other than our military.

Cocco says that (1) the elderly are the best-insured Americans (whereas prior to Medicare approximately half had no health insurance) and that (2) Medicare has "a better track record of controlling costs" than the private health insurance industry.

266. Cocco's piece raises the question that continues to confound me: from a cost/financial/federal deficit perspective, is Medicare a good program or not? Half the time I feel like I read articles (like Cocco's) that claim it's a shining success in government intervention in the economy, whereas the other half the time it's portrayed as the single biggest reason that the federal deficit is completely out-of-control and worsening by the year. Which is it? I really need to find an objective analysis of whether the deficit would be even larger absent Medicare.

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