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Falling for false promises

Those who have fallen for the “Medicare for all” promises, and there are millions of them, ought to have a talk with Robert D’Anniballe. He and his family operate a private ambulance company — at least for now.

Little by little during the past half-century, the federal government has been forcing many private providers of health care out of business. Those remaining understand that unless they toe Washington’s line, they will be next.

Last week, D’Anniballe went to a Steubenville City Council meeting to discuss his company’s woes and set the record straight. Some “very offensive comments” have been made about his company, he told council members.

One thing he wanted to make clear is that his ambulance service does not receive a dime in support from city government.

Payments for ambulance transportation come solely from the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs, and from private insurance.

Some people can’t pay at all.

D’Anniballe is far from the first health care professional to point out that Medicaid and Medicare payments are inadequate. Sometimes they do not even cover the actual cost of services. That means health care providers from D’Anniballe on up to big hospitals have to charge private insurers and out-of-pocket payers more, to make up for low federal reimbursements and the cost of helping people who have no way to pay.

Fifty years ago, most ambulance service, at least outside big cities, was provided by private companies.

Slowly but surely, many were forced out of business and were replaced by city-, county- and state-funded ambulances.

So, you ask, how is it that people like D’Anniballe can’t subsist on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates but public ambulances can?

They can’t.

As D’Anniballe pointed out to Steubenville council members, public ambulance companies can rely on taxpayers to close the gap. Ever wonder why you read so often of voters being asked to support tax levies for ambulance services? D’Anniballe can’t do that.

The situation brings up an interesting question: Why is it that “Medicare for all” schemes call for eliminating private insurance?

Look at it this way: If Medicare, Medicaid and “Medicare for all” system are the only ways health care providers can get paid, many of them go out of business because the reimbursement rates are too low. Then, government steps in — as it does now with ambulance services — and becomes the provider.

Either your taxes go up to support the vast new health care bureaucracy or the quality of services declines dramatically (or, more likely, both).

Now, don’t blame local government entities that set up ambulance services. They’re not part of the federal scheme. Good for them for trying to help constituents.

Blame the vast big-government conspiracy, which for decades has been nipping away at private health care — and now sees a way to grab the whole thing.

This won’t go away. The big-government liberals know they made a mistake in calling their takeover scheme “Medicare for all.” Next time, they’ll be more careful.

Rest assured, there will be a next time.

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.

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