WaPo Poll: 63% Favor Medicare Buy-In

Greenwald mentions this in his article I posted on earlier, a WaPo poll:

Do you think the government should or should not expand Medicare to cover people between the ages of 55 and 64 who do not have health insurance? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

The result is 63% favor, 33% oppose.

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    And 59% of Senators do too. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by steviez314 on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 09:31:26 AM EST

    A majority anyway (none / 0) (#14)
    by FreakyBeaky on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 09:57:50 AM EST
    Lieberman's drawing all the fire, but there are a few other thugs.

    So what (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 09:38:35 AM EST
    Washington doesn't seem to care what the people want. The people also wanted to be out of Iraq too. The public will isn't allowed to interfere with corporate interests.

    Anybody have any ideas... (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by magster on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 09:42:28 AM EST
    ...about what to do now? I don't.

    I kind of envy the teabaggers and how their  puppeteers bus them around from event to event to scream at politicians.

    Strap yourself in: (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 09:53:37 AM EST
    We're in for a bumpy ride!

    Another point that scares me is that, after a disasterous mid term, Obama and the Democrats will blame the losses on their "progressive" agenda and move even further to the right.

    The Republicans have to be licking their chops. They brought Obama and the mighty 60 majority opposition down. Talk about emboldening the enemy! We're doomed. Nothing positive is going to get through now.


    It seems counter intuitive to (none / 0) (#19)
    by magster on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:10:54 AM EST
    reward the Dems, but the best I can come up with is for progressives to start blaming everything on the Republicans and campaign like hell for Dems in 2010.

    The genius of the GOP strategy is that it has pitted Dems against each other, but there's no mention about how immoral their unanimity against the reform is.  It's time for America to hate Republicans again.

    While it does not look good right now, if the job numbers turn around and we can recreate the magic of NY 23 in other races across the country, maybe things can move in the right direction.

    As tempted as I am to sit on my a** this November, Republican governance is not the answer. The only caveat is progressives and unions should not in any way support the Blue Dogs and the Senate "centrists" (including Reid).


    Picket the Insurance Company Buildings (none / 0) (#43)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 01:12:42 PM EST
    With all the unemployed and uninsured out there a massive picket line outside these insurance companies could have some influence.

    Encourage the huge companies to push for better rates and coverage or risk them switching providers.

    Since Obama isn't listening to the polls on either health insurance reform or his approval ratings, it's hard to believe there won't be large gatherings in DC.

    I loved getting the Blue Shield notice today that we haven't returned our application for 2010. Nope, we sure haven't, and we won't be.


    And the beltway responds: (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by robotalk on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:31:38 AM EST
    so what?

    "Who Do Not Have Health Insurance" (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dan the Man on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 09:13:36 AM EST
    As usual, the Washington Post does not ask the simplier question: "Do you think the government should or should not expand Medicare to cover people between the ages of 55 and 64 (ignore the caveats)?"

    I'll bet you (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by andgarden on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 09:16:20 AM EST
    "expand Medicare to everyone" would command a majority.

    Most people probably think that (none / 0) (#5)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 09:23:38 AM EST
    anyone over 55 can sign up.  That's been my anecdotal experience with friends impressions since this idea came up.  

    Yes, i think that is how people think too (none / 0) (#12)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 09:45:05 AM EST
     - that they can quit their employer provided health insurance plan, and bingo! Now they are uninsured and would be able to buy in to Medicare.

    Not sure how the proposed rules would prevent that...


    Well, I think that even if it isn't (none / 0) (#23)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:32:05 AM EST
    in the bill, we may find some 55-64 year olds showing up at Social Security offices trying to sign up given the poor reporting I've seen about the expansion.

    The oligarchs who run the place (none / 0) (#3)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 09:17:05 AM EST
    are obviously among the 33% who oppose.

    So what are the good part of this water down bill? (none / 0) (#4)
    by Saul on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 09:21:12 AM EST
    Since, public option is out and it seems that medicare buy in is also out.  

    Anything good left to cheer about?

    Obama becomes a transformational (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 09:38:15 AM EST
    president. :-)

    Another benefit, if you own health insurance stock, your net worth will go up quite a bit after this passes.


    Heyyyy! (none / 0) (#9)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 09:40:48 AM EST
    Buy insurance stock as a way of paying for your mandated health insurance....of course, at some point you have to sell it or it doesn't work for that.

    I can see the Democrats coming out with such a suggestion.


    Good idea, (none / 0) (#15)
    by KeysDan on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 09:58:08 AM EST
    buy health insurance stock, and use the big returns to help pay your insurance premiums.  

    Big returns? (none / 0) (#17)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:04:02 AM EST

    Their mere 2.2% profit margin does not sound like a really good investment option.

    Goldman Sachs analysis of impact (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:19:38 AM EST
    on insurance stocks.

    The next best thing for the insurance industry would be if the legislation passed by the Senate Finance Committee is watered down significantly. Described as a "bull case" scenario -- in which there is "moderation of provisions in the current SFC plan" or "changes prior to the major implementation in 2013″ -- earnings per share for the five biggest insurers would grow an estimated ten percent and the variance with current valuation would rise an estimated 47 percent. link

    jeezus h. keerist, MO Blue (none / 0) (#28)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:05:37 AM EST
    You always have the most terrifying, inconvenient, actual FACTS!

    That is one starkly informative fact right there.


    Republicans will get the best of this (none / 0) (#44)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 01:16:37 PM EST
    They all vote NAY on the reform and they can't be held responsible for the great windfall of extra cash to the health insurance companies.

    I heard on the news this morning that 27% of our premiums will be going to the insurance executives in the form of pay and bonuses.

    Republicans designed it 'cause Obama wants to make them happy, but they are clever enough not to vote for it.



    You need (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:55:54 AM EST
    to look into how that number was calculated ("non-profit" insurance companies were included in that average).  You also need to look into what's behind any profit loss that has occurred recently -- the previous downturn in the stock market.  They made bad investments.

    Then you need to realize that "profits" come after executive compensation is paid.

    Nothing more needs to be said.


    Aetna (none / 0) (#29)
    by waldenpond on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:06:11 AM EST
    I believe typical is 3-4%.  The article on Aetna's latest move is that Aetna is going from a 4% margin to a 7% margin.  They are increasing premiums to such a degree that they expect to force 650,000 off their roles.

    What happens to those 650,000 (none / 0) (#30)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:13:58 AM EST
    in the coming days of mandates?

    They either fall off the rolls and (none / 0) (#31)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:21:48 AM EST
    pay a penalty or qualify for enough of a tax payer funded subsidy to make it possible to hang onto the insurance coverage.

    I'm thinking they won't qualify (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:37:12 AM EST
    for any help. This isn't really about low income, it's about insurance pricing us out. Dean said they could charge "older" folks 3 times as much. Just because I can't afford that doesn't mean my income is low enough for help.  It seams to me this is just going to scr*w the heck out of the folks just above the help range. I think Obama needs to watch those Harry and Louise commercials he used . . . .

    Some will qualify and some won't. (none / 0) (#51)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 08:28:12 PM EST
    There are good questions about whether or not the help will be sufficient.  Whether or not you qualify for help will not necessarily guarantee that you get enough help to keep up with the private insurers' premiums.

    But I agree, we are likely to see people effectively thrown off of the rolls this way.


    Exchange (none / 0) (#36)
    by waldenpond on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:43:54 AM EST
    They will end up in the exchange and use their share of cost of employer insurance to meet the mandate by buying a crap policy from an industry that is becoming more consolidated.  Your Senate at work.

    There are some nice protections added-in (none / 0) (#39)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:25:18 PM EST
    namely the ban on recission and the guaranteed issuance provisions (though the latter will almost undeniably inflate premiums both in real terms and because its a convenient excuse). The medicare and medicaid provisions are also nice- a 50% discount on prescription drugs purchased in the "donut hole" of Medicare Part D, and the largest expansion in Medicaid since its founding (seriously, the sheer size of the expansion is a bit staggering-- the jump in childless adult coverage will be massive even in states with already generous Medicaid provisions--).

    Well gee (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 01:21:31 PM EST
    if the bill stopped pharma from overcharging for prescription drugs for dual eligible Medicare/Medicaid recipients, the donut hole could be closed completely and we could reduce the deficit by 50 billion. What a deal Obama cut for Senior. Not.

    Gosh . . . . (none / 0) (#40)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:29:54 PM EST
    I'm just so excited! I can't wait to buy mandated inflated insurance premiums! {Snoopy happy dance!}

    Retirement (none / 0) (#11)
    by Stellaaa on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 09:44:28 AM EST
    What the 55-60 cohort hears, which I don't blame them, is the possibility of retiring if they can get Medicare.  This would be the biggest job stimulus program.  Open up some jobs for young people.    

    Actually the idea of people retiring early (none / 0) (#18)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:07:06 AM EST
    was used as an argument against the Medicare buy-in. The argument was that it would put further strain on S.S. Not sure why they would worry about that. Social Security is next on Obama's list of programs to "fix."

    Amazing (none / 0) (#16)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:02:29 AM EST
    Such questions are misleading if they don't include the cost or trade-offs for the benefit in question.  

    Medicare is an excellent example of runaway unsustainable cost increases.  In 1980 Medicare cost 1.2% of GDP.  In 2008 this ballooned to 3.2% of GDP.  

    Underlying health care costs per enrollee are projected to rise faster than the earnings per worker on which payroll taxes and Social Security benefits are based. As a result, while Medicare's annual costs were 3.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2008, or about three quarters of Social Security's, they are projected to surpass Social Security expenditures in 2028 and reach 11.4 percent of GDP in 2083.

    Speeding up this train wreck does not appear to be a wise course of action.

    But of course (5.00 / 7) (#20)
    by Steve M on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:11:42 AM EST
    costs in the private sector have risen at an even faster rate than Medicare costs, an inconvenient fact I'm not surprised you chose to ignore.

    Not to mention (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by standingup on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:52:45 AM EST
    the increase in Medicare that came as a result of the unfunded prescription benefit bill that was another big giveaway to the private sector.

    Of Course (none / 0) (#27)
    by Dave B on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:04:14 AM EST

    I would like to see the growth of total healthcare spending as a % of GDP over the same period.

    Here is a bunch of interesting data from CBO.

    Costs in the private sector (none / 0) (#34)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:40:31 AM EST

    will not bankrupt the government.

    just the people . . . . (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:43:55 AM EST
    But (none / 0) (#41)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:41:35 PM EST
    Tax cuts and supplimental funding at a time of war will.

    When (none / 0) (#46)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 01:43:32 PM EST

    When JFK cut tax rates tax revenue increased.
    When Reagan cut tax rates tax revenue increased.

    When the capital gains tax rate was increased in 1986 capital gains tax revenue fell for a decade.

    Are you talking about tax rate cuts or tax revenue cuts?


    convenient cherry-picking (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by CST on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:30:13 PM EST
    interesting that you leave out the tax hikes under Clinton... I wonder why?

    Easy question (none / 0) (#52)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 09:38:17 PM EST

    He had a congress thar restrained spending,

    Totally different scenarios (none / 0) (#47)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 02:36:33 PM EST
    And at neither time were we at war on two different fronts. The tax cuts that GWB and the Republicans rammed through with reconciliation were the first in our history at a time of war.

    By using supplimental funding, GWB and the Republicans were able to side step including the war costs in the budget year after year. Now Republicans and Lieberman are suddenly fiscal conservatives outraged at the deficit. Nothing but hypocrites.


    Amazing (none / 0) (#50)
    by Steve M on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 06:27:33 PM EST
    every study of the JFK tax cut has found that it ultimately recovered approximately one-third of the lost revenues.  One-third, not all of it, let alone more than that.

    You seriously want to credit the tax cut for the fact that the country's economy grows over time?  This is pure voodoo.


    The fact remains (none / 0) (#53)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 09:47:20 PM EST

    JFK cut actual tax rates and the result was an actual revenue increase.  Studies of hypotheticals may be interesting but don't rewrite actual historical practice.  

    Is there any economist that thinks that tax rates have no impact on economic activity?  BTW, does raising the tax on cigarettes have no impact on cigarette commerce?


    You know I support the buy-in (none / 0) (#26)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:56:08 AM EST
    to, but can someone explain to me what would keep Companies from dumping people on Medicare the day they turn 55- statistically "crowd out" is a measurable effect.

    Nothing would stop that practice really. (none / 0) (#32)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:25:59 AM EST
    And that's why it would be better if the entire population of 55-64 year olds would be allowed to opt into Medicare if they wanted.  It would reduce the government risk.  The reality is that the way it was set up as last described, it was designed to be a dumping ground for those that private insurers would deem uninsurable in that age group.  

    strange question (none / 0) (#35)
    by diogenes on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:41:19 AM EST
    The question leaves out details like cost; anyone would take something for free.

    Free?! Didn't realize they were offering freebies. (none / 0) (#38)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:44:36 AM EST
    Re Greenwald's Wed. a.m. post: (none / 0) (#42)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 01:04:04 PM EST
    can't find BTD's post except this one.  Read Greenwald and sob.

    But 100% of Joe Liebermans do not (none / 0) (#48)
    by s5 on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 02:56:42 PM EST
    Actually I bet we could find other people named Joe Lieberman who support the buy-in.