WAMU 88.5 : The Big Fix

Tackling Medicare And Medicaid

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 Host Al Lewis proposes allowing Medicaid patients to get a discount on prescription drugs if they agree to a more expensive co-pay for emergency room visits. Guest Tom Scully agrees that too many Medicaid patients use the emergency room, but thinks the solution is more high quality urgent care clinics. Fellow guest Ron Pollack says that primary care doctors are not serving Medicaid patients because of low reimbursements, so there needs to be better incentives for physicians to treat Medicaid patients.

Charlcie from Oregon wants to extend full Medicare benefits to people ages 60 to 65. She believes this would include more healthy people in the system, lowering the cost per person, and allow more people to retire, opening up jobs for the unemployed. Scully does not want more people in the Medicare or Medicaid systems, but supports universal health care coverage when it is affordable. Pollack likes the idea, but does not think it will happen. He says that the Affordable Care Act will give people who are not eligible for Medicare, Medicaid or employer-sponsored health insurance more options.

Steve from Maryland thinks uninsured patients should get most favored nations pricing at doctors' office. Right now, people who do not have health insurance get charged more for treatment than people who do have insurance. Pollack says this problem goes away if everyone has health insurance. Scully agrees in principle, but worries about the side effects of trying to fix prices.

For our "Little Fix," Tom from New Hampshire wants to fix clocks halfway between daylight savings time and standard time. Host Al Lewis suggests redrawing time zones.

Music: "A Simple Way To Go Faster Than Light That Does Not Work" by Tortoise 

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