Offering A Medicare Buy-In?

Let's hope Ezra has good sources:

Sources who have been briefed on the negotiations say that Medicare buy-in is attracting the most interest.

(Emphasis supplied.) Medicare for Some? That's a start towards Medicare for All. Take out the mandates, increase Medicare eligibility, use the House funding model and I can support this health insurance premium assistance bill.

Speaking for me only

< What People Know About The Health Insurance Premium Assistance Bill | Lines You Would Not Have Read In The Left Blogs During the 2008 Primaries >
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    Who I wonder (none / 0) (#1)
    by lilburro on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 12:06:43 PM EST
    would this be open to?  Young people too?

    (on an unrelated note, Jane put up a great post on Obama getting a pass from liberals/progressives/lefties)

    How much would it cost? (none / 0) (#2)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 12:24:34 PM EST
    Could be great if the rates were significantly lower than the private insurers'.  OTOH, if this is appealing to some in Congress because they think they can peg rates as high as the private insurers' rates, then it is just another bait and switch tactic to protect the private insurers' market dominance.

    If high rates, that would show what a fraud (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Cream City on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 12:35:14 PM EST
    it would be -- as aren't the elderly supposed to be the most costly users of health care?  So if the age is dropped to make more Americans eligible, and without all that we pay in our premiums for insurance companies' CEO salaries and sales staff and advertising and marketing and more . . . the cost to the consumer ought to be less than for private insurance, too.  

    But we will see.


    Agree with you (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 12:59:37 PM EST
    Stop the presses!

    Mix with FEHB (none / 0) (#13)
    by christinep on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 02:16:03 PM EST
    If Dems win what has been sought for some time--expanding Medicare as a buy-in @ 55 or 60--you increase the potential pool more than a limited public option. To ensure lower costs, tho, it would seem that a combination of rechanneling subsidies and the recently discussed OPM bargainer & monitor option could be an important driver in the overall approach. Perhaps, in the OPM mix, there would even be a variant on a trigger should the insurance companies balk at bargaining? The combo expanded Medicare buy-in & OPM exchange system has definite appeal--at least on paper.

    The OPM exchange as you call it only (none / 0) (#16)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 06:35:34 AM EST
    looks good if the government subsidizes the premiums at the same 70%+ rate that they do for federal employees - otherwise it is really just the same as the other exchange except for the not-for-profit aspect - which is a shell game since those nfp's will be owned and operated by the private insurers.

    Having had some time to think this Medicare idea through, it is now clearer as to why the private insurance industry would support it as long as the mandates remain in the bill.  The private insurers get the healthier populations which are forced to pay premiums; and the government assumes responsibility for a portion of the next highest risk group - not everyone 55 or above will even qualify for this Medicare option as it turns out.  Of course, those premiums paid by younger, healthier populations will do nothing to bolster covering the higher risk groups - that money goes into a profit pool never to be seen again by plan participants in need - or the government which will go broke subsidizing this industry if we don't freakin' wake up and stop this institutionalized theivery.


    people are excited about this (none / 0) (#5)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 01:10:13 PM EST
    all over.   perhaps my "hope" was not misplaced after all.

    We're heard this one before, though (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 01:17:26 PM EST
    Remember when it was a proposed "compromise" in the time before the House passed its bill? Cooper backed off real fast.

    HuffPo (none / 0) (#8)
    by lilburro on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 01:21:27 PM EST
    is saying they are just trying to lower the age to 55 (Sam Stein).  That's nice, but I'm not 55, so it wouldn't do jack for me.  The PO on the other hand would as I work at a small business and purchase my own insurance outside of work.

    lots of boomers are 55 or more (none / 0) (#10)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 01:32:55 PM EST
    like me.  I think that would be huge.

    Only a small portion of the 55 and above (none / 0) (#17)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 06:36:55 AM EST
    group will qualify though. So don't get your hopes up too high unless you fit into the specific demographic that they propose covering.

    The Health Insurers Don't Want (none / 0) (#7)
    by bob h on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 01:19:50 PM EST
    seniors anyway, and would be glad to see the back of them.  The problem is going to be that the providers do not want to see more people at Medicare rates.

    Yes, and they already have (none / 0) (#12)
    by KeysDan on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 01:38:56 PM EST
    their Medicare supplemental insurance programs ready to go. These policies will not pay if Medicare does not pay, but they do pick-up that amount uncovered by Medicare--and they are expensive and good profit points. Never-the-less, it seems to be a good move.

    As with all insurance, it is the details (none / 0) (#9)
    by KeysDan on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 01:24:00 PM EST
    that matter.  Indeed, most of us do not really know how good our insurance is until we need it.  Add the fact that most of the plan does not kick-in until 2014, and we will have a long time to wait and see.  However, the resurrection of Medicare for more,  coupled with expansion of Medicaid and insurance subsidies is structurally encouraging, putting the bulk of the camel into the tent at the get go.  I remain puzzled, however, by the concerns expressed by some legislators, apparently, that this will put more strain on an already financially troubled Medicare ignoring the fact that Medicare "savings/cuts" are to finance half of the current bills for extension of coverage to those under 65.

    Young people (none / 0) (#11)
    by Coral on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 01:33:57 PM EST
    It would be great if they could open Medicare buy-in to everyone who would qualify to buy on the Exchange, because then, even at lower rates than private insurers, young people would be buying in and needing less care than the 65+ people now enrolled.

    That would make way too much sense (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 02:38:35 PM EST
    <sigh> But even us 55-65ers need a bunch less medical services than the over 65s, so this would at least scoop a large number of less expensive folks into the Medicare system.

    A larger expansion (none / 0) (#14)
    by christinep on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 02:19:31 PM EST
    If these things happen in steps (and sometimes they do), an initial expansion by 5 or 10 years as an option could prove to be a precursor if all goes well.