As I recently read a letter about the advantages of Medicare Advantage, I feel compelled to respond as to why it’s actually harmful to its participants. Medicare Advantage was brought about in 1997 under the neoliberal Clinton administration to basically privatize this public good under the misguided belief that the free market would actually be cheaper and more efficient.
As most people know and history has proven, this is a poor way to run a healthcare program. One just has to look at the state of the American healthcare industry to realize how capricious, inefficient, and inane it all is.
On average people who are enrolled on Medicare Advantage spend 3 percent more on healthcare while receiving far less care while the insurance companies shirk their responsibilities wherever they can to help fatten their profit margins. The American Prospect has great articles on this linked here and here. It’s important to be skeptical of insurance companies particularly when it pertains to healthcare. Yes, they may offer free gym passes and classes but that’s pennies on the dollar compared to the inflated rates you pay along with the fact nothing really stops them from saying “oh were sorry but you’re actually not covered for that.” These insurance companies also pressure doctors into “upcoding” in which they basically load up their enrollees with lots of fake diagnoses so that they can charge the federal government more reimbursement money which the government funds from the same pot as the regular public Medicare.
I don’t want to sound alarmist but it’s paramount we struggle against insurance companies and the insidious ways they try to privatize the small sliver of public healthcare we have. Otherwise, our elders will receive worse healthcare while not leaving any money left in the pot for the rest of us.