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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 18, 2009 3:59 AM. The previous post in this blog was How to get evicted from Peacock Lane. The next post in this blog is It's got to be a hoax. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Final version of health care "reform" shaping up

And the Senate is showing its true colors.

Comments (7)

This pretty accurately sums up the "plan" the Senate is likely to approve.

It's astounding how badly the Dems have screwed this up. All they had to do was expand Medicare while providing a tax credit for health insurance paid by employers. They would have taken the most direct (and the least expensive) route while honoring their promise to allow people currently insured through their employers to keep their coverage. An increase in the Medicare tax rate from 1.45% to around 4-5% would not only have provide all of the funding necessary to finance the program, but also to make Medicare more stable for those over 65.

This doesn't make the health insurance industry go away. There would still be a market for supplemental coverage, just as there now is for those on Medicare. It would simplify the process and eliminate much of the wasteful claim denial procedures, marketing, and other nonmedical expenses. Then we could more effectively tackle the waste in Medicare and Medicaid.

However, everyone would be covered. There wouldn't be loopholes that will allow annual (but not lifetime) limits, charging outrageous premiums to anybody with so much as a hangnail as a means of denying coverage, and other schemes to avoid paying claims as we see in the current mish-mosh being proposed. The whole bill could have been written in about 50 pages.

The lack of leadership from the Oval Office has been mind-boggling. If Obama had just said, "I want A, B, C, and D. The rest is up to you," AND STUCK TO IT, this process would have been done months ago. Someone like LBJ would have quickly mowed down the Ben Nelsons and Liebermans and would have discerned right away that "bipartisanship" was impossible with the current group of Rs.

This was a terrific opportunity. Too bad the Dems wasted it.

The fact that the senate can't get 60 people to agree to this bill tells me that it's a real turkey and should'nt be passed.

How about this, toss the current bill away and go enjoy the holidays. Come back next year then sit down and draft up something that can be passed.

And Rural Resident, expanding Medicare to 55+ is a really really bad idea. Medicare is a broke system as is, adding all those extra people will put it in the grave that much faster.

If only the dems had a filibuster-proof majority in the senate and a dem in the white house, they could have gotten this done....Oh, wait.

Darrin ... The only reason Medicare is "broke" is that it has been more successful over the years in helping older people maintain their health than its creators thought it would be. People are living longer--and better--which means that they cost the system more. Tax rates should have been increased long ago to account for increased lifespans and the higher cost of new medical technologies. A responsible administration would have done this, but we've had the "no tax is ever a good tax" crowd in residence at the White House for most of the last 30 years.

Increasing the tax rate will stabilize the system for those over 65 by providing the funds to cover anticipated costs and increase the physician reimbursement rate. It will also level the playing field among employers, because everyone will participate. Think of the savings in financing federal, state, and local government. At an 8% rate (4% for employee, 4% for the employer) family insurance coverage would cost $4K (plus the small cost of supplemental insurance for uncovered costs, dental, vision, etc.) instead of $10K-$20K for family insurance coverage for an employee making $50K. For state and local government employees, including educators, this would reduce the strain on the state budget.

I'm always amused by the canard about how awful Medicare is. If Medicare is so terrible, I invite the Republicans to put forth a bill abolishing it. And run on that proposition in the next election. Based on your supposition, I'm sure we can count on this. Do you seriously believe that any national Republican officeholder would take me up on this?

RR,

Who pays $20,000 a year for health insurance on a $50,000 income? That has to be a "Cadillac plan" that Obama is so upset about, right?

I'd agree that Medicare isn't the worst program out there, but if it is so darn great, why aren't the Democrats (and the general public) putting forth a bill to expand it to everyone? Oh yeah, they tried that and it is failing . . .

I'd agree that Medicare isn't the worst program out there, but if it is so darn great, why aren't the Democrats (and the general public) putting forth a bill to expand it to everyone? Oh yeah, they tried that and it is failing . . .

That's my point. Had they not mismanaged the process so badly, they would have had more success. Would they had gotten a full single-payer system passed? Probably not. But they would have been much closer had they started there. The opponents would have had much less to work with, especially had this been done by August--which it might well have been.


Who pays $20,000 a year for health insurance on a $50,000 income?

Family coverage for some public (and private) employee health plans runs $1,200-$1,300 a month. That's around $15K a year. Want to bet that number won't be higher soon? Let's say we're "only" talking about $1,000 a month ($12K/year). $4K plus the cost of a supplemental plan covering amounts not covered plus dental/vision is still a lot less than that. It would certainly help ease some of the pressure on state and local budgets.

After this "gutless" bill squeaks by in the Senate let's pray something might be done in reconciling with the House Bill. Too bad the House can't "reconcile" the Medicare Expansion back into the Bill. It seems like such a no-brainer. Would insure the uninsured at a reasonable (competitive) premium and could be implemented sooner than the mandatory coverage period begins to run. Most members would acquire supplemental coverage from the private insurance industry at outrageous premiums given the low risk of secondary insurance. Thus, the industry could still gouge, just not as deeply. Seems like a win/win.


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