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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Buchanan Reviews Kaplan's Top Ten Myths of Medicare

Neil H. Buchanan (George Washington), Does Anyone Really Understand Medicare? Richard Kaplan Does, and You Can, Too (Jotwell) (reviewing Richard L. Kaplan (Illinois), Top Ten Myths of Medicare, 20 Elder L.J. 1 (2012)):

Kaplan, a noted tax scholar who teaches at the University of Illinois College of Law, is the founding advisor of the Elder Law Journal, and a noted expert in the field of elder law.  Professor Kaplan draws on his wealth of knowledge about the subject of health care for the elderly in “Top Ten Myths of Medicare,” which was published this past summer.  The article expertly walks the line between being technically accurate and broadly understandable.  Neophytes, as well as those of us who think we know a lot about these issues, will come away from Professor Kaplan’s short article (fewer than 14,000 words) with both knowledge and insight that are sorely lacking in public discussions about this crucial program. ...

[R]eaders could not find a better article to explain Medicare’s basic workings, its budgetary and political realities, and its combination of shortcomings and truly significant benefits to American society.  Even if the next U.S. President were not going to be chosen on the basis of his commitment to protecting Medicare, reading this article would be worth anyone’s time.

(Hat Tip: Leigh Osofsky.)

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Kaplan's article answers all the wrong questions about Medicare and still manages to give all the wrong answers.

For example, he compares Medicare with universal health insurance; the proper comparison would be between Medicare/health insurance and payment for medical services outside the SS/Medicare/insurance system as the Amish and other free persons manage.

A second example is that he ignores the fact that a high-earner, while paying a higher Medicare insurance premium, automatically insures his indolent spouse, 2 for 1, while the typical two-earner middle class family pays two premiums.

A third example is that he ignores the fact that end-of-life medical choices are forced by the gummint to be between spending 20% of Medicare on the last two weeks of life or just dying miserably, ignoring the option of not subscribing to Medicare in the first place and also avoiding the nosocomial and iatrogenic illnesses and deaths caused by medical treatment, spending the tremendous savings on things you consider more important, like food on the table or education, again as the Amish do.

Any smart person would fire a financial advisor who promises a return of less than 80% of the investment dollar; Medicare, and insurance in general, are even worse than that. I would never pay a cent for such a bargain; indeed, I'd rather put my hard-earned monthly 15% of wages on a spin of a roulette wheel, which pays 95%, or a game of Blackjack, which pays 99%. Furthermore, roulette and Blackjack can be fun, while nobody I've met has ever enjoyed sending off money to an insurance company, much less SS, Medicare or Obamacare.

Posted by: Jimbino | Oct 25, 2012 10:48:00 AM