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Friday, August 29, 2008

Medicare Could Use More Support

The Journal's editors recently took words out of context in order to reinforce their predictable slant on health care -- government involvement is bad, private sector is good. In doing so they confused the overall performance of Medicare with the Bush administration's commitment to dismantle it.

My remarks were not a slight on Medicare. They were directed at an ideologically consumed administration that has spent the past eight years attempting to privatize Medicare by ensuring that providers, taxpayers and senior citizens become increasingly frustrated with the program. The reason is simple: this administration does not want Medicare to continue as a successful government health program.

The Bush administration would prefer to eliminate Medicare as an entitlement. It would turn Medicare over to for-profit health insurance plans, which, to say the least, have done a lackluster job at insuring anyone under age 65, and would surely increase Medicare fraud and pharmaceutical fraud.

Every bureaucracy has its faults, but Medicare provides an incredible benefit to Americans: ensuring that everyone over 65 has access to quality health care. Even if we doubled spending on administrative costs to ensure greater efficiency, no private plan would come close in choice, quality or cost. Medicare remains the most popular and efficient plan for taxpayers and senior citizens, the Bush administration's efforts not withstanding.

Wall Street Journal; August 28, 2008