MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Awhile back, BuzzFlash posted a commentary on how Eric Cantor was, in essence, promoting rationing that would mean some seniors would die for lack of treatment under the Paul Ryan Medicare proposal.
Cantor admitted that treatment would be based on the ability to afford different levels of coverage. It was a rather shocking admission - considering that Ryan is still implausibly claiming that his Groupon voucher (coupon) approach to Medicare will not cut back on access for seniors. Yet, Cantor's rare candor went all but unnoticed by the corporate mainstream press.
The reality is that the Republicans have created the illusion that private medical insurance is universally generous and all-encompassing in its coverage. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.
Private insurance is as varied as a used car warranty, and most Americans cannot afford medical insurance that is all-encompassing. Private insurance, except for top executives and the wealthiest, is trending toward higher deductibles, more restricted coverage and more vigorous challenge to claims.
For most people, even with private, for-profit insurance, health care is rationed right now.
Even for Medicare as we know it, there are restrictions, premiums, deductibles, co-pays, supplemental policies etc. An Associated Press article today notes that many seniors, under Medicare, cannot afford prohibitively priced life-saving drugs.
In short, there is no medical insurance in the United States that does not ration care, and Medicare, in fact, is the fairest, regardless of income. According to Paul Krugman, it is also the most inexpensive policy when it comes to what the gross national cost of insurance might otherwise be for America's seniors.
Cantor and Ryan believe that the wealthy are entitled to more extensive, life-saving and routine health care, because they have earned it.
But the health of a nation is dependent upon the health of its people, and not just its largest income earners.
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