Coburn: Medicare is not working


The federal government should not expand its role in the health care system because the programs already in place, Medicare and Medicaid, do not work now and giving Uncle Sam a larger role in people's lives would be a big mistake, a conservative Oklahoma senator said Tuesday.

"How well is Medicare working, right now, Charlie? How well is Medicaid working? None of them are working well. They are totally bankrupt programs," Sen. Tom Coburn told Charlie Rose in an interview with "CBS This Morning."

The Supreme Court is in the midst of three days of oral arguments about the constitutionality of President Obama's signature health care law, with justices focusing Tuesday on the provision that requires everyone to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

Coburn said Medicare, the national insurance program for those older than 65 and those with disabilities, and Medicaid, which helps low income families, are already too expensive.

"We can't afford them. The care is declining," Coburn said, adding that many new entrants to the Medicare program are having trouble finding a doctor in the system.

"It's not working. And the reason it doesn't work is we are not using market forces to allocate a resource and creating a true safety net to help those people who need help. So, we are outside of our role of the federal government," Coburn said.