Sunday, July 13, 2003
Example: Maine, whose discount-Rx drug scheme was recently upheld by the Supreme Court, is currently on the road to statewide universal health coverage, according to an
article in today's Baltimore Sun.
Example: Robin Toner and Robert Pear report in today's NY Times that both parties in Congress are locked in a battle over whose less-than-comprehensive-Medicare-drug-benefit-we-can't-really-afford bill will be passed . . . hanging in the balance are bragging rights for the 2004 elections.
Example: Meanwhile Medicare continues to cut reimbursements to physicians who in turn are refusing to take on new Medicare patients (it doesn't really qualify as news, but it is reported in today's Springfield (Mo.) News Leader). If Congress can't afford the Medicare benefits it's provided for up till now, it kind of makes you wonder how even a modest prescription drug benefit will be paid for, doesn't it?
Example: Finally, for a truly terrifying look into one of our alternative futures, consider the Canadian Medicare program, long a model for those, like me, who think a universal-coverage, single-payer system would solve a lot of the problems of the US' so-called system. The Canadian system is being wracked by the political problem of how to control costs in a humane and civilized way. As reported in an article in today's Toronto Star, by 1999 "85 cents of every new dollar collected [by federal and provincial governments] went to health care." That is obviously not sustainable, and yet who in the US has a sensible alternative to this picture?