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Blog of Mass Destruction

Medicare Buy-In

By The Reverend Published: December 9, 2009

Now it's getting embarassing.

As I predicted, the Senate has jettisoned the public health insurance option......not that this is a surprise in any way. Many Senators work directly for big medical-pharma-insurance corporations who pay for their elections. Nothing personal against those Americans who need health insurance, mind you......it's just not in their corporate clients' interest......profits and so forth.

The misdirection play that Senate Democrats are running right now to provide cover for canning the public option is called "Medicare buy-in". Yeah, we lost the public option, but we're going to get Medicare eligibility at 55 as a tradeoff...and maybe we can get more poor folks on Medicaid too.......so we're, you know, getting something.

Horsepucky.

If you are between the ages of 55 and 64, don't call Medicare just quite yet.....

Negotiators are considering limiting consumers to those who would qualify for high-risk insurance pools already set up under the Senate’s health care legislation. This would mean primarily those who have been uninsured for a certain amount of time, have a history of poor health or are unable to get insurance because of a preexisting condition.

It's all misdirection and cover for passing an exclusively health insurance favoring piece of legislation. Without a public option there are NO cost controls...none. For-profit health insurers will reap a new customer bonanza without any future cost constraints. Pharma doesn't have to do any negotiating with government over price. Insurers can charge as much as three times more for higher risk customers. When a country permits its largest corporations to virtually bribe its Senators....this is all we can expect to get in return.

Now that President Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) has won the day,....the public option having been kicked to the curb as he wished,....ole' Kent's new job,.... as he tirelessly works for those who put him where he is today,... is to come up with some even better ideas for helping his clients deal with this nonsense about Medicare for 55-64 year olds. Not so fast, says President Conrad.....

“from a national perspective, you’d have to be concerned about the effect on the national pool,” referring to the concern that the 55 to 64 year old population added to the Medicare pool tends to be a sicker population. When asked how he’d resolve these issues, Conrad said that he’d propose having the Medicare buy-in be treated as “a separate pool” that could have negotiated rates, rather than those set by the existing Medicare program.

Kent forgot to mention how allowing 55 and over to buy-in to Medicare would be yet another windfall for his clients, big medical and big insurance. 55-64 year olds are a very unprofitable age demographic of health insurance customers. Maybe, those unprofitable customers can be pawned off on the government, hell.....leaving insurers with only the most profitable age demographic customers from which they can reap well-deserved higher profits from all those millions of new customers they will be

fleecing serving. Well, hell yes.

But what if Medicare gets so big, momentum will be created to allow Medicare for all? Then what?

President Senator Kent Conrad is the Senate's Duracel Bunny, always going. Conrad wants any new Medicare wannabes 55-64 kept in their own, you know, smaller pool. Not much volume clout that way....and therefore, not a threat to pricing supports. Doesn't allow for Medicare-for-all momentum to build. Keep them separate from Medicare. Damn good job Kent. It looks like you're worth every penny of what those silly regular folks call, you know, bribes.

So, misdirection and bribes it is...but wait....there's more...

This afternoon, Jay Rockefeller said that the new proposal to expand Medicaid coverage for those who are 133% to 150% above the federal poverty line was dropped during a meeting of key legislators this morning. “I was sad this morning,” Rockefeller told me and a few other reporters. “We walked in, and it was 133[%] to 140[%], then it’s staying at 133... So we didn’t get anything.”

No Medicaid expansion either. No sense in giving poor working Americans any false hopes about their chances for getting health coverage. What was it? 24 hours? As the misdirection play worked out, very short-attention span Americans heard that Democrats dropped the public option but were going to get Medicare for more Americans and Medicaid for more Americans in return. Today, no Medicaid expansion...and limited, watered down Medicare for 55 -64 year olds.....which won't be affordable anyway.

That's what those warrior Senate Democrats pounded out in negotiations. Such brave warriors we have......we should all be oh-so-grateful for our brave and selfless conservative Senate Democrats.

They're fighting

you for you.

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