Leslie Nyman: Save Medicare from corporate profiteers

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Published: 11-28-2023 4:46 PM

Modified: 11-29-2023 2:11 PM

More than half of Medicare beneficiaries now have for-profit corporations in charge of their care through Medicare Advantage plans. Insurance companies are well paid for these plans and much of that taxpayer money does not find its way to patient care.

Corporate profits have risen substantially since Medicare Advantage entered the marketplace. If this trend continues unabated we will have no choice but to purchase Medicare through private insurance companies.

And now, thanks to PNHP (Physicians for a National Health Plan), it has been revealed that taxpayers are being overcharged by upward of 22% to 35% annually, which equals more than $88 billion.

Privatized Medicare has not once in 20 years yielded savings for the program. Conservative estimates show that payments to the Advantage plans have always been higher than would have been paid for patients of traditional Medicare. Health outcomes have fared no better than in traditional Medicare.

The insurance industry uses several techniques to funnel more Medicare money into their coffers. One such approach is something called upcoding, which includes listing conditions and/or treatments irrelevant to specific patient visits. It involves establishing risk scores which are growing annually by 2%.

The cumulative effect of uncorrected risk scores accounts for nearly $17 billion in excess payments in 2021. Unless consumers become aware of this theft of traditional Medicare, this system will continue.

Medicare for All is the only reasonable solution to maintaining costs and caring for everyone equally.

Leslie Nyman

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