Talking 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.