Health care funding issues – I'm confused …

I have been puzzled by a problem in the health care reform debate:

We know that Medicare performs a form of rationing by only paying 71% of the expenses. We also know that as a result of this that the providers (doctors, hospitals, etc.) pass these costs onto people who can pay – individuals & employers who have health insurance. Thus, isn’t it ironic/hypocritical/dishonest (circle one) that Congress is trying to find a way to fix climbing health insurance costs by totaling reforming the system when Congress itself refuses to pay the full cost of medical care through the program it already controls? And, isn’t this one of the reasons for our situation now? Shouldn’t Congress be forced to enter a bill that requires medicare to pay its fair share so that the costs are not passed on to others? Wouldn’t this solve at least part of the problem of rising costs? By the way, and to continue the irony, a major part of Obama’s plan for raising funds for this new healthcare program is to cut even more expenses out of medicare!

On the other hand, this raises a good question which will, perhaps, cast this issue in a different light:

Who has challenged the provider contention that what Medicare pays is not adequate? Have the providers been transparent regarding their expenses and revenues to lend credence to their assertion? While I’m inclined to believe that the assertion may be true for a small minority, but not for the vast majority of providers. Until I see the numbers from doctors/hospitals (hah!), I’m inclined to be skeptical. Once there is a degree of transparency from providers, the opportunity will then be to address the unnecessary expenses and eliminate the waste. The result may then be that what Medicare pays is more than adequate and a reduction in reimbursements a natural conclusion. Right now, both sides are shooting in the dark and trying to “baffle us with baloney.”

{Thanks, and a “tip o’ the hat,” to the NAHU discussion list & especially to Ric Joyner & Dave Cluley.}