As Long As The Government Is Setting The Prices There’s Nothing “Fair” About Medicare Compensation
Last week Senator Kent Conrad lost his cool over the decision by the Obama administration to go after the so-called “Frontier Amendment.” This was the portion of the Obamacare bill which raised Medicare reimbursement rates in North Dakota, which had among the lowest rates in the nation.
Today the Grand Forks Herald weighs in and sides with Conrad (and the rest of ND’s delegation) saying that Medicare reimbursement rates should be “fair” despite the fact that Medicare is in worse shape, fiscally, than Social Security.
“[L]et Medicare pay doctors and hospitals from coast to coast at roughly comparable rates — the rates that the Frontier Amendment now ensures,” writes Tom Dennis for the Herald. “Then and only then, figure out ways to ratchet down Medicare’s expenses.”
This seems like a rather odd notion of “fairness.” We’re supposed to increase the expense of the program then figure out to make the program solvent? And who says that one-size-fits-all pricing across the entire nation is fair? Prices for goods and services vary from region to region, often by a lot. Why shouldn’t that be the same for Medicare?
This speaks to the fundamental problem with these government programs. The government tries to implement one-size-fits-all policies whether they fit or not. As long as the government is dictating prices for health care under the Medicare program, there is no fairness. Not to the doctors and hospitals, not to the patients and most certainly not to the taxpayers.
Price ought to be something that reflects market forces – supply and demand – not government policy. If we want to fix Medicare, to the extent that it even can be fixed, we need reforms along the lines of what Rep. Paul Ryan has proposed.
Give Americans their share of Medicare payments and let them figure out the best way to spend it.Tags: Kent Conrad, medicare, North Dakota News