A Modest Proposal

Clearly, the most logical alternative to Obamacare is a program similar to Canada’s. But that’s “socialism,” and no Republican Congress would agree to anything like that. So I’m offering them a way to give the voters some health care help without antagonizing their benefactors or their base.

Nobody has ever accused George W. Bush of being a socialist. Yet when he was president, his Republican Congress gave seniors prescription help and Medicare Advantage.

I don’t know how I would have survived if they hadn’t done that.

As a diabetic with a bad heart and bad kidneys, high blood pressure and so on, I need a lot of medicines. And with the new plan, I get help paying for my prescriptions, in addition to the  doctor visits and hospital bills covered by original Medicare.

Medicare Advantage goes a little farther. With Medicare Advantage, a private insurer gets my Medicare money and provides a comprehensive health care plan

As a Republican program, Medicare Advantage couldn’t be simple. It had to be complex enough to bamboozle simple folks like me. But as I understand it, private insurers contract with the federal government to provide various plans and we seniors get to pick the plan we like best.

I wouldn’t expect a Republican Congress to approve a government-run health insurance program like Canada’s. It’s not in their DNA. But couldn’t they give the rest of the nation the same kind of deal they gave us seniors?

No it’s not perfect.  The insurance companies I choose keep going bankrupt, and the plans I choose sometimes get cancelled. But I manage to find a new company and a new plan each time.

Unfortunately,  the plans don’t cover everything. I owe Lakeland Regional Health Center a fair chunk of change after my recent visits there. But if I hadn’t had Medicare Advantage I would have been wiped out. According to the hospital, the total bill was nearly $50,000!

In Canada, I wouldn’t have had to worry about a thing. The government provides health care – free health care – for all. But this isn’t Canada. This is Florida, USA. And they don’t do things that way in these parts.

So how about it Republicans? Be heroes. Give the people a health insurance plan they can live with – Medicare Advantage for Americans of all ages.

That way, you give your health insurance buddies a chance to make a buck, and you give the masses a break on their health care expenses. It might buy you a lot of votes.

And it’s one way out of the mess you’re in now.

History of Medicare Advantage

How Medicare Advantage works

The way it is in Canada

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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