Many President-elect Donald Trump supporters hope for change but don’t know what that will look like.
Surrounding him are elected officials and wealthy lobbyists who want to privatize Medicare, and are floating similar ideas for Obamacare.
Privatizing does not reflect savings for consumers. Private insurers have business overhead costs: marketing, paying a sales force, and management bonuses. The results are likely to increase premiums and give us less healthcare coverage.
Medicare Advantage plans and Health Maintenance Organizations are examples of privatized health care systems. They prefer healthy plan members and set their plan rates based on their “risk pool” and our ability to afford what is covered.
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I worked in a managed health care organization where I observed these facets of healthcare run by a business. I witnessed their desire to cut costs by limiting care and adjusting drug formularies. I later worked in a skilled nursing facility as a social worker where I observed patients with managed Medicare plans getting shorter stays. Some of these patients would have benefited from longer stays for rehabilitation services, such as physical therapy.
Business has a self-interest to make money. There is nothing wrong with that except for when we lose our healthcare. The pharmaceutical companies are an example of self-interest at its worst. Privatizing is not more efficient or the answer to healthcare.