Foreign doctors should be part of solution to health care crisis
This story was originally published in the June 2013 issue of The Progressive.
The state of our health care system is a tragedy for all of us. According to the Congressional Budget Office, by 2034, Medicare will be bankrupt and we will need a national health insurance system to manage our needs as we rapidly age. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that for people aged 65 and up, spending on health care will increase from $2,200 a year in 2013 to $5,600 in 2034. And in the long term, the cost of providing care to our aging population will rise to $8.6 trillion a year. In the past, the cost of caring for the elderly, who were expected to live longer than their parents, was only expected to rise, and never decreased. As part of a new national health system, a system that would ultimately replace Medicare, we would need to make major changes in our health care system.
At the state level, we have a health care crisis on our hands. In June 2010, the governor of Washington set the stage for a health care crisis in the state by announcing that he was cutting $1.2 billion from health care subsidies for health insurance recipients. In the first six months of 2011, six states cut Medicaid budget increases by 6.6 percent, including Arizona, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Wisconsin (although Wisconsin has since increased its contribution).
In July 2011, the governor of Virginia proposed to close the Medicaid program, reduce aid to the elderly, and freeze salaries for public employees. In the final weeks of the fiscal year, the governor of New Jersey announced that he was cutting Medicaid funding and that cuts would be made to Social Security and Medicare. He also cut $90 million from services for the disabled in the state. In Wisconsin, the Republican governor was also proposing to cut $100 million from the Medicaid program.
And then there is Wisconsin, which has the third highest number of health care workers in the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current state of Wisconsin workers per capita is the seventh highest in the nation.
At a time when our economy is struggling to grow, we should be offering health