LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Privatizing Medicaid only costs more money

Thursday, November 14, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST

I have a concern regarding your Nov. 7 article on Rep. Jay Barnes' suggestions to resolve Medicaid Expansion.

One of the problems with Medicaid today is the doctors are underpaid because there are not enough tax dollars to pay adequately. His suggestion to privatize can only make it worse. Administration costs of Medicaid are about 3 percent, but with private health carriers it is about 30 percent. That is 27 percent less money to pay doctors. How is this the salvation of the program?

Remember we tried privatizing Medicare. Many private carriers compete with each other and with Medicare for patients. In fact, about 25 percent of seniors use private carriers instead of Medicare. Guess what? This year it cost taxpayers about $16 billion more to support the private carriers. If we completely privatized Medicare, that will cost taxpayers at least $64 billion annually.

Is this the burden we want to put on taxpayers for Medicaid and Medicare? Or do we just want to reduce benefits so we can support insurance companies?

Martin Walsh is a resident of Glendale, Mo.

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