It is time for Congress to stop the gravy train and eliminate private fee-for-service plans in Medicare (Plea to end fee-for service plans, Feb. 4, p. 8). We will limit the looming Medicare fiscal disaster in 2020 only if every beneficiary is back on traditional, government-administered Medicare. It is a well-known fact that HMOs saved money initially when private insurance plans converted to gatekeeper plans. However, HMOs never saved a dime in government-administered programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, because those programs were already operating at the most cost-efficient level possible. Private HMOs have proved that they cant beat the economic efficiency of government-administered programs. It is not their fault, but they operate for profit, and private executives make a heck of a lot more than government administrators. It is very interesting to watch knee-jerk capitalists ignore the facts and continue to try failed public policy over and over again. It is also very expensive to taxpayers. Providers would do well to accept their payments from government organizations because they have constitutional protections including due process when our government administers programs.
Susan JohnsonLawyer Willimantic, Conn.