Medicare affects everyone. If you are a boomer, you are counting on Medicare to protect you from the cost of health care when you retire. If you have turned 65, you already depend on Medicare. If you are a Gen-X or Gen-Y, you are contributing to Medicare from your paycheck. Will Medicare continue to exist as we have known it? Will it be there when you need it? How much will it cost? As the future of Medicare is debated in Washington, Rosemary Gibson and Janardan Prasad Singh shine a light on a rarely-seen side of this storied program: the business of Medicare. Medicare is known as an entitlement for the nation's seniors. It is also the largest entitlement-based program for any business sector in the US economy. Its beneficiaries include hospitals, doctors, drug companies, device manufacturers, Wall Street investment banks, private equity firms, hedge funds, and others that rely on the $600 billion that Medicare spends a year. The ties that bind Wall Street and Washington in the healthcare industry are strong, and they will play an outsized role in determining Medicare's future. Gibson and Singh reveal how the industry's interests are often at odds with those of seniors and boomers.
While some politicians point to the culture of dependence of the public on Medicare, the authors suggest that policymakers turn their attention to the culture of dependence of the healthcare industry on Medicare, which is the predominant force pushing the program toward a fiscal cliff. The amount of waste in the Medicare program is equivalent to the entire economy of New Zealand. For Medicare to be sustained, this culture of dependence -- and the habits it breeds, namely waste, excessive pricing, and overuse of unnecessary services -- should be the first priority for the chopping block. By parings back the excess, the authors argue, Medicare can be sustained for future generations. This is essential reading for anyone interested in how Medicare works, how it could work better, and where it will go if reforms are not made.
Introduction Part I: How Much Is Medicare Costing You? 1: 15 Medicare Facts That Will Astonish You 2: They're Coming for Your Social Security 3: Will Democrats and Republicans Really Fix Medicare for You? 4: Swiss Cheese Medicare: More Holes Than Cheese Part II: Where Your Money Goes: The Business of Medicare 5: A House on Medicare Drive 6: Bill, Baby, Bill 7: A Country Without Red Lights Part III: How Wall Street Determines the Care You Get 8: Medicare's One Percent 9: When Wall Street Health Care Comes to Main Street 10: Wall Street and Government: Born Forty-Eight Seconds Apart Part IV: The Entitled and the Entitlers: Taking a Slice of the American Pie 11: Seven Habits of an Entitled Health Care Industry 12: Hedge Funds: The Newest Beneficiaries of Medicare's Entitlement 13: The Entitlers: The White House and Congress Part V: Saving Medicare 14: Pull the Emergency Brake 15: Public Interest, Not Private Gain 16: Recycle the Waste, Restore the Dream Notes Index About the Authors