Government

The Bandaid approach to healthcare costs … again. 😷

More cost shifting and surprises for unwary Americans. Of course, this proposal is going nowhere in the near future, but it points out the mindset of people seeking solutions to a problem, but ignoring the problem, in this case the cost of health care. 

Let’s say a 60 year old can buy into Medicare for the estimated $8,212 (probably too low), now what? Medicare alone is insufficient so that person must buy supplemental coverage just as most Medicare beneficiaries do, that’s another $200 +- a month plus $40 a month for prescription coverage. That’s at least $11,092 total and who says a 60 year old needs to buy a “gold” plan on the Exchange. 

In effect, this concept simply shifts the risk from private insurers and individuals to taxpayers. And, of course, it’s another step toward a single-payer plan for all Americans. 

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) introduced the Medicare at 55 Act with the immediate support of Democratic Sens. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Jack Reed (R.I.) and Al Franken (Minn.).

The bill, which would allow Americans aged 55 to 64 to purchase Medicare coverage, reflects the growing influence of progressive activists who are pushing for a single-payer health care system they dub “Medicare for all.”

Although the bill stops short of making Medicare universal, its embrace of expanded public health insurance, rather than the private model at the heart of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, marks a distinct leftward shift for the party.

“People between the ages of 55 and 64 often have more health problems and face higher health care costs but aren’t yet eligible for Medicare,” Stabenow said in a statement. “If you live in Michigan, are 58 years old, and are having a hard time finding coverage that works for you, this bill will let you buy into Medicare before you turn 65.”

“Our legislation is one way we can work together on a bipartisan basis to lower health care and prescription drug costs,” she added.

Stabenow’s office suggests the new bill would likely generate cost savings for those between the ages of 55 and 64, since private insurers are permitted to charge that cohort three times the rates of their younger peers due to the generally higher cost of providing them coverage. Americans aged 55 to 64, on average, pay more than $1,200 a year in out-of-pocket medical costs that Medicare would alleviate, according to the Health Care Cost Institute.

The bill would likely also relieve financial strain on Obamacare’s individual insurance exchanges by enabling the departure of some of its most expensive customers. The exchanges are facing mounting problems as insurers withdraw from some areas and increase premiums in others to offset the cost of covering more sick people than they had before Obamacare’s passage.

Stabenow’s bill echoes a similar effort underway in the House of Representatives. In July, Democratic Reps. Jon Larson (Conn.), Brian Higgins (N.Y.) and Joe Courtney (Conn.) announced that they would be introducing the Medicare Buy-In and Health Care Stabilization Act. The bill would permit Americans aged 50 or older to buy in to Medicare for as little as $8,212 a year ― a significant savings for a 60-year-old currently purchasing a high-ranking “gold” plan on the exchange for an estimated $13,308, according to the congressmen’s offices. SOURCE: Huffingtonpost.com

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