Tells Intimate Stories of People Who Suffer Because of Medicare’s Policies
Why Senator Bernie Sander’s “Medicare-for-All” Won’t Work
Washington, DC – Dr. David Hogberg, senior fellow and health care policy analyst for the National Center for Public Policy Research, is scheduled to release his new book, “Medicare’s Victims: How the U.S. Government’s Largest Health Care Program Harms Patients and Impairs Physicians,”* on July 6, 2015.
“So many people think Medicare is a wonderful program,” says Dr. Hogberg. “My extensive research in writing this book shows just the opposite… there are often hidden victims of Medicare and my book examines how Medicare’s policies harm them,” he reports.
The victims of Medicare, Dr. Hogberg notes, not only include the patients but also doctors themselves, each of whom share a common trait. “The patients who receive poor treatment and the physicians, who are stymied in their efforts to provide good care, tend to lack political power,” he says. “That is, they lack the ability to compel Congress to make changes in Medicare. Usually the victims are too few in number to have any real impact at the ballot box. Furthermore, they are often too ill to engage in the sorts of activities, such as organizing, protesting and so forth, that can help change policy,” he says.
“Medicare’s Victims” examines the disabled on Medicare who struggle with Medicare’s two-year waiting period and Medicare’s cost sharing. It looks at seniors who fell into Part D’s donut hole, and patients who either received insufficient treatment or received too much care under Medicare.
The book also reveals why primary care physicians are either leaving Medicare or are limiting the number of Medicare patients they accept; how concerned physicians who try to spend more time with their Medicare patients are, in effect, penalized; and how lobbying groups for large hospitals used Medicare to squash their competitors, smaller physician-owned specialty hospitals.
“The book is timely because there are some more liberal politicians who are now pushing for a ‘Medicare-for-all’ single-payer system,” says Dr. Hogberg. “Specifically, Senator Bernie Sanders recently called for such a system. The book yields insight into why such a system wouldn’t work.”
“Medicare’s Victims” explains why the beneficiaries who do get good treatment under Medicare are the ones who do have political power, particularly seniors ages 65-74.
“They vote at rates higher than almost any other group and since many of them live in retirement communities or belong to senior centers, they are easy to organize if needed,” says Dr. Hogberg. “With that sort of political clout, members of Congress are going to make sure that, in general, seniors receive good treatment under Medicare.
“The problem with the Medicare-for-all approach is that you’d be extending Medicare to all sorts of diverse groups who don’t collectively have the political clout or wherewithal to institute any change within the system. As such, politicians will have little incentive to ensure that such groups are even receiving the good care they should expect under Medicare.”