What’s to be done? I don’t have a comprehensive solution, but here are a couple of ideas that are too radical even to be considered right now, never mind put into place:
These “radical” ideas might put you to sleep because they are pretty tame compared to what I’d like to do. In fact, they seem anything but radical:
Means Testing: Make sure the person getting Medicare isn’t sitting on money they should be using to pay for their own health care. (This would be a great job for me… a few more weeks at the Physicians Neck and Back Clinic, and I’ll be able to hold old people upside down by their ankles and shake coins out)
Balance Billing: This means that hospitals charge what they wish with the stipulation that they must charge all patients the same. They are allowed to bill for the balance. That is, they can charge Medicare patients more than what Medicare will reimburse and bill them for it. I didn’t realize this, but THIS IS A HUGE CONTROVERSY…. because what a terrible thing to present someone with a bill for a service provided.
In some states, “balance billing” is synonymous with fraud:
The Medicare Balance Billing Program works to protect Medicare beneficiaries from being billed by health care practitioners for amounts beyond those approved by Medicare. The program investigates complaints and takes action against those practitioners who violate the law.