The AARP has hardly been a disinterested commentator on government provided healthcare given their stake in Medicare. Thus its article “8 myths About Health Care Reform” in its July/August 2009 magazine which describes itself as the “World’s Largest Circulation Magazine”. I’ll list the eight “myths” which would have made Orwell beam with pride. You decide whether these are myths or not. Of course the piece never does offer a concrete plan for reforming healthcare. Mephisto skulks in the fine print.

1. Health reform won’t benefit people like me who have insurance. (If the government does it you’ll likely be worse off.)
2. The boomers will bankrupt Medicare. (Of course they won’t my generation has already done it.)
3. Reforming our health care system will cost us more. (The government is going to save us money?)
4. My access to quality health care will decline. (Many physicians already refuse new Medicare patients.)
5. I won’t be able to visit my favorite doctor. (He’ll probably take early retirement.)
6. The uninsured actually do have access to good care – in the emergency room. (A real straw man. The uninsured use the ER no more often and sometimes less than patients with insurance.)
7. We can’t afford to tackle this problem now. (What’s a few more trillion dollars more at this point?)
8. We’ll end up with socialized medicine. (Precisely.)

I couldn’t resist throwing in a few comments. Just a few things to contemplate. Why does healthcare need reforming? There’s only one reason. It costs too much. So when the passion to reform strikes like anaphylaxis ask the question. If you can’t come up with the answer take a shot of epinephrine and rethink the issue. Also ponder how good government is at controlling costs. If the feds knew how to run a national healthcare program Medicare would not be virtually insolvent.

After you’ve come to grips with the cost of medical care, ponder how to increase coverage, make medical care affordable, while simultaneously making care readily available. When you’ve solved these problems reform away.

You could start with Medicare which has about $36 trillion (there are even higher estimates) in unfunded liabilities. Then move to the VA which has been described as a “shambles.” With these two government systems repaired you should be ready for the half of medical care that the government doesn’t yet control.

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