If you are young, you might not understand the comparison I'm about to present. But, if you are young, you are already paying the price of communism in healthcare, whether you know it or not. Below is my simplistic explanation of how Americans are paying three times more for healthcare because of Medicare. Socialism ruins everything. Just wait as Obamacare gets implemented.
In the early 1960's, before the federal government inserted itself into our healthcare. Doctors were considered middle class or upper middle class, depending upon their specialties. Surgeons made more than general practitioners, for instance. Doctors were not in the stratosphere of income levels as they are today.
In my life up until then, I remember no one being denied healthcare. Health insurance for a family of four was under $50.00 per month, on the high side. Ours was $35.00. Most Dr.s visits were $15.00 to $20.00. And people didn't go to the doctor for every little hangnail, but went to the doctor for necessary treatments. Families took care of each other and their elderly relatives, and when medical care was needed it was usually affordable, barring some really long and dreadful circumstance. If the long and dreadful circumstance occurred, there were nets in place for the indigent to be cared for. The patient paid. Or the family paid. And if funds were depleted, local or state facilities were available. It is true that a long term disastrous health situation could financially hurt quite a lot. Families, churches, and charities stepped in and helped. In a smaller group of indigent patients with no support, the local and state tax supported hospitals took over.
Obviously, in any population some tragedies occur when it comes to health issues. Health insurance in those days was affordable and covered most all contingencies. People could cope. And they did. For the most part, we grew up knowing we could manage. That is how I remember it.
Enter Lyndon B. Johnson with his socialist "Great Society" schemes. Enacted in 1965, Johnson expanded the Social Security Administration to include healthcare for the elderly, adding the new Medicare program. The impact of this, as with most government socialist programs, came gradually. (The frog in boiling water analogy applies.) Immediately a new tax was added to payroll taxes for Medicare. Like Social Security, Americans now had to pay their entire lives into a system to cover healthcare when they turned 65 yrs. old. (now you can be in the U.S. for only 5 years and receive Medicare benefits.) History of Medicare
As implementation of Medicare permeated the healthcare industry, Dr.s receiving payment for Medicare patients did not get reimbursed by Medicare at the same costs as patients who were not on Medicare. In order to make up the difference, patient charges for all other patients were increased to cover the discrepancy. So you, as a working citizen began paying into Medicare, but also then began paying higher prices to go to the Dr. Voilá. You are, at that point, paying twice for Medicare...the payroll deduction and then the higher price at the Dr.'s office.
Oh, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Medicare expansion continued. The government agency began covering equipment and all manner of other services. A lot of suppliers wanted in on the Medicare payments for healthcare. The price of equipment escalated right along with the Dr.s charges, nursing charges, hospital services, etc. Soon, as the Dr.s, hospitals, and equipment suppliers charged more to cover the discrepancies, health insurance rates began to increase for all others. All of these players felt justified increasing their rates and prices due to the government Medicare program insertion into the system.
Imagine the pebble thrown into a pond with ever expanding ripples. While Medicare covered X amount of a medical service, the doctors and service providers charged Y, so the insurance charged Z in order to cover both X, Y, and Z. Now you are paying three increases over what healthcare used to cost in America. And as this price escalation occurred exponentially over time, fewer and fewer people could afford health insurance and Dr.s charges for care. Dr.s are now in the income stratosphere, as one consequence. (aside: You are also paying for malpractice insurance that your Dr. is hit with thanks to the litigation happy society we live in.) Thank you Lyndon Johnson and your socialist Great Society Program. Wasn't that nice of him?
In short, Medicare caused healthcare prices to go out of reach for many, created an opportunity for fraud and abuse, made us all poorer, created an entire new dependency class, and generally made healthcare affordability worse for everyone. But wait, but wait...the socialists aren't done ruining things yet.....
(Personal anecdote: My son's birth cost a total of $185.00 in 1973. As Medicare costs filtered over the years down into the mainstream medical costs across the board, my son's first child cost $11,000.00 in 2003. In 30 short years the cost of bring a healthy baby into the world "necessarily skyrocketed, would you say?)
Not to be outdone by Lyndon Johnson, Obama magnified the cost of healthcare by such astronomical amounts that most Americans will be financially decimated by the weight of it.
Even prosthetics are taxed heavily as "medical devices." Wounded warriors are going to be taxed for artificial limbs. "If you have a fancy health care plan and pay as an individual, $10,200 or $27,800 for a family, you get to pay a 40% annual tax on those health care plans." Run Down of Tax Increases Because of Obamacare
Just as Medicare threw many people out of the insurance pool due to rising health insurance costs, Obamacare will throw more countless numbers of people out of the insurance pool and into poverty. Obamacare forces employers to stop healthcare benefits for employees due to the increased cost of it. The new cost of paying for employee healthcare is preventing employers from hiring. As more people are thrown into unemployment, more people are forced onto government programs, costing the American taxpayer even more. Obamacare taxes and fees for healthcare impact other aspects of our lives and makes the cost of living climb even higher. Our young heirs to our country have just been added to the dependency list and are made to pay for that privilege. Our heirs will have little chance of accumulating any wealth whatsoever as a consequence of Obama's nasty plans for them, and passed by a Socialist Democrat congress. Obamacare is just one of his guarantees of that. Believe me, Obamacare is not the only economic rape of this country, but it is one of his biggest.
Obama doubled down on Lyndon Johnson in the area of healthcare. Medicare was the tip of the sword, the camel's nose under the tent, the beginning of the end for affordable health care. Communism is so much fun, now isn't it?
Heritage Foundation Obamacare Research
Reason.com on Obamacare