The New Deal

imagesTalking Points Memo has the latest details on health care negotiations in the Senate.

It looks like the national non-profit plans that Adam Searing bashed yesterday will be included in the bill. If a non-profit national plan is not offered in a particular state then a public option is triggered.

In exchange for this mess of a public option there will be a Medicare buy-in for people starting at age 55. According to reports, the buy-in would be available starting in 2011, but the premiums would not be subsidized until the exchanges begin operation in 2014. Politico reports that unsubsidized premiums could be as high as $600 per month.

I agree with Adam S. that the national non-profit idea won’t provide much genuine competition. But the Medicare buy-in is a immensely compelling trade-off. People over 50 are the most vulnerable to insurance company abuses. Insurance companies, for the most part, do not want to compete for the business of people over 50.

Certainly $600 per month is a steep price. And it’s too bad that the total price tag of health reform is such a hot political topic. The Medicare premiums should be subsidized starting immediately. But an unsubsidized buy-in is something. And if it’s available in 2011 I would say it’s a deal worth supporting.


  1. Kimberly

    December 9, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Unfortunately, we already have a “non profit” private insurance company in NC that is supposed to be competitive. The Public Option is the only thing that will really help millions of Americans obtain fair and affordable health insurance and will ensure that private insurers such as BCBS offer a competitive product.

  2. Lou Meyers

    December 9, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Those hefty $600 premiums would be much lower—and actually affordable—if everyone would be allowed to buy into Medicare (i.e. the young and healthy) and this would have the additional benefit of shoring up Medicare.

    NC already has high risk plans for those over 55 with premiums hovering around $600. How is this progress?

    Americans under 55 are still getting the shaft. Non-profits with government oversight? Our NC insurance commission has had oversight for years over the non-profit Blue Cross and look at the disastrous results! This seems like a plot to further divide the country by our “trusted” leaders. Make those over 55 reasonably happy and to hell with everyone else.

    And what a complicated mess this is. Insurance companies have got to be high 5-ing with this development. They’ll be richer than ever at our expense—as usual.

    It’s time we give the insurance companies the shaft– kill this bill–vote jokers like Burr out in 2010 and go for a simple fair solution–Medicare for all in 2010 or 2011. We’ll actually end up with real reform sooner than the proposed 2014 kick in dates.

  3. AdamL

    December 9, 2009 at 11:12 am

    The high risk pool is pretty restrictive whereas the current proposal would be open to anyone over 55. Also, premiums will be subsidized starting in 2014.

    Killing the bill is no solution at all. That is exactly what people said during the Clinton fight, and look what we got. If this bill dies we will have exactly what we have now until the next generation takes up health reform in 20 or so years.

  4. IBXer

    December 9, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Kill it.

  5. Lou Meyers

    December 9, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    I hear you Adam, but the situation is much worse now than after the Clinton debacle. It won’t be another 20 years. We’ll have no choice but to pick it back up in a year or two. This country won’t survive otherwise.

    I guess will have to see how this thing fleshes out—- I’m still skeptical though. With our country in the shape that it’s in, half baked measures won’t cut it anymore.

  6. Jeff

    December 10, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Can any one tell me the profit margin of the insurance companies?


  7. IBXer

    December 10, 2009 at 9:42 am

    This country is dead if it passes. The country is based on the Constitution. This bill, along with the rest of Obama’s agenda, does nothing but shred the Constitution.

  8. Karen

    December 10, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Bad idea. Medicare will be broke by 2017. Medicare denies more claims than private insurers. The first year the plan will cut 1.3 billion from Medicare for heart and cancer treatments. Many employers will drop employees and pensioners over 55 thereby forcing them into the already busted Medicare program. No money for the doctors and hospitals means no treatment. Baby boomers could find themselves with real big problems,like paying out of pocket.The added costs to Social Security for payments for the onslaught of retirees will be 1.6 billion per year.

  9. Karen

    December 10, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    The profit margin for private insuarnce companiers for their health care plans is 2%.

  10. AdamL

    December 11, 2009 at 10:27 am

    I appreciate your dedication in leaving this same comment on every blog in the country. That still doesn’t make any of your claims correct.

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