Thursday, January 12, 2012

Raising the Eligibilty Age for Medicare and SS?

I just caught wind of this discussion, and I'm afraid this could become a reality.

The CBO just released its "research" that supports raising the Medicare and SS eligibility age:
www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/125xx/doc12531/01-10-2012-Medicare_SS_EligibilityAgesBrief.pdf

The report indicates that more people will have to work longer--did they realize it's especially hard for those in their 60s to find jobs? (see: www.pewtrusts.org/uploadedFiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/Reports/Fiscal_Analysis/Long-term-unemployment-addendum-November-2011.pdf

The report claimed that about 5% of those using Medicare would be uninsured but that most would get insurance from the private sector (Really--who's underwriting folks in their 60s and offering affordable premiums? The ACA has charged states with creating health insurance exchanges, but those are being challenged and states like Georgia are sitting on their hands waiting for it to be repealed: http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/waiting-game-may-cost-1291709.html ) or from their spouse's employers (sorry same-sex couples, entrepreneurs, and single/widowed folks).  Here is a quote from the report:

CBO assumed that people who became ineligible for Medicare under the new age limits could purchase health insurance through the exchanges, and, depending on their income, might qualify for federal subsidies. CBO also assumed that people with the lowest income would qualify for Medicaid benefits. Without those changes to the recently enacted health care laws, CBO anticipates many more people would become uninsured if the MEA was raised.

Compare that to Robert Reich's thoughts (found at http://robertreich.org/post/7941066493):

So what’s the answer? For starters, allow anyone at any age to join Medicare. Medicare’s administrative costs are in the range of 3 percent. That’s well below the 5 to 10 percent costs borne by large companies that self-insure. It’s even further below the administrative costs of companies in the small-group market (amounting to 25 to 27 percent of premiums). And it’s way, way lower than the administrative costs of individual insurance (40 percent). It’s even far below the 11 percent costs of private plans under Medicare Advantage, the current private-insurance option under Medicare.
In addition, allow Medicare – and its poor cousin Medicaid – to use their huge bargaining leverage to negotiate lower rates with hospitals, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies. This would help move health care from a fee-for-the-most-costly-service system into one designed to get the highest-quality outcomes most cheaply.
Estimates of how much would be saved by extending Medicare to cover the entire population range from $58 billion to $400 billion a year. More Americans would get quality health care, and the long-term budget crisis would be sharply reduced.

I really hope the President and Congress take a harder look at their proposals. Perhaps we could save money by allowing them to get health insurance from their spouses or purchasing it in the private market?

Thanks for listening to my rant. I'd love to hear your thoughts.



No comments:

Post a Comment