As a practicing geriatric physician, I was pleased to see The Post tackle Medicare reform in a straightforward fashion in the Jan. 7 editorial “Repairs to Medicare.” Too often Washington relies on “experts” to fix its problems, and in the case of Medicare that means academic doctors and administrators who do not see patients every day under Medicare’s shadows and who thus concoct big, impractical solutions that can never be enacted. If you filled a room with practicing geriatric doctors, we would have a workable, simple fix in writing before you even served us lunch.
Currently Medicare is a buffet: Patients get what they want when they want it without paying, and the least expensive path for the patient is often the most costly and least efficacious path for the system. Instead, Medicare should reward sensible medical care that is conducted in the home and the primary physician’s office, deterring hospitalization, over-testing and regular specialist visits. Procedure- specific co-pays would accomplish such a goal, and there are ample studies demonstrating that less aggressive medical care in the geriatric population leads to better outcomes, so quality would actually be enhanced at tremendous cost savings.
The president and Congress should talk to real doctors; they would be surprised at how much we actually know.
Andy Lazris, Columbia
I take umbrage with the Jan. 7 editorial “Repairs to Medicare” and the snide remark it included about my having too little “skin in the game” because my husband and I, like many other seniors, have Medigap coverage. We pay $209.80 a month for Medicare. In addition, we pay more than $300 a month for Medigap coverage. That whopping “extra” means we will be able to pay our bills if we unexpectedly are hospitalized or need specialized medical care. We won’t have to declare bankruptcy. We are being responsible for ourselves — something obviously not a trait celebrated in Washington or by Post editorial writers.
Mary P. Felter, Arnold