By Pamella Gronemeyer, M.D.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Letters, Aug. 1, 2014
We are thrilled to help celebrate Medicare’s 49th anniversary this week. Medicare, which was passed into law in 1965 under President Lyndon B. Johnson, provides the elderly and disabled health care benefits that would not be available to them in our profit-driven (and -ridden) fragmented insurance market.
In contrast to the ongoing, never-ending partisan disputes over the Affordable Care Act, Medicare has been for 49 years and still is the living proof that public, universal health coverage is superior to private insurance in every way. Medicare is more efficient than private health insurance and is administered at a cost of 3 percent to 4 percent, as opposed to private health insurance, which has administrative costs above 15 percent. Medicare’s costs have risen more slowly than those of private health insurance. Medicare provides better access to care, better financial protection and higher patient satisfaction.
The current Medicare system is not perfect, but should be expanded and enhanced to provide universal coverage. We are an exceptional country, and we need to provide exceptional health care to all Americans.
Dr. Pamella Gronemeyer resides in Glen Carbon, Ill.