Medicare is Still a Government Program


Whether or not you like the idea of a Canadian-style single-payer health care system, there’s no question that we already have such a system here in the United States. The Canadians call their system “Medicare” and it’s open to all citizens. We call our version of Medicare “Medicare” and it’s open to all citizens over the age of 65. In Medicare, like in Medicare, medical services are provided by the private sector but the costs are substantially born by a government-run insurance program. Medicare in Canada has problems, but it’s very popular and Canadians show little sign of wanting it to change. Medicare in the United States also has problems, but it’s also very popular and senior citizens show little sign of wanting it to change. Older Americans are also generally skeptical of Barack Obama and thus plagued by anxiety that he’s going to somehow curtail their access to generous government-provided health insurance.

Alternatively, you could act like the Cato Institute’s Doug Bandow and treat AARP members’ skepticism as a sign of incipient libertarianism:

In Dallas, at least, the AARP staff found it tough going attempting to explain to the organization’s members why the elderly would be better off with Obama-like “reform.” These people obviously were having trouble with the line, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.” And they were quite vocal in stating their concerns. But they were acting well within the American political tradition, which seems to be what has spooked advocates of a government medical takeover speaking breathlessly of “mobs”–presumably like the one in Dallas–opposing “reform.”

I’m sure they did have trouble explaining because there are people like Bandow out there deliberately confusing the situation. But, again, senior citizens are already experiencing government-run health insurance. And they like it. They love it! They’re nervous that it might change. And their fears are being stoked by a right-wing campaign of deception. But they’re certainly not clamoring for a Cato-style agenda in which the government stops giving them health insurance.