Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Amazing turn of events pertaining to the Healthcare debate at the Capitol. It seems there is a possible deal being hashed out that would close out the Public Option element of the reform while opening the coverage of Medicaid and Medicare.

At this time, Reid has said: The public plan is still in the bill, but acknowledged that it may not have the votes to pass. Anyone who has been watching, knows that the Public Option looks nothing like the original, has been watered down to be as ineffectual as possible and secures the firm grip of the Insurance Industry on the well being of Americans.

So, at this point, I welcome the death of the Public Option. The alternative may be getting just that much more attractive. As we watch the "breaking news" on all the 24 hour channels, we start to understand the details of this Medicare expansion and just what it can do rather than what it cant.

In exchange for giving up on a new government plan, supporters of the PO demand a major expansion of Medicare and additional aid for low-income uninsured. Medicare would be opened up to uninsured people age 55 to 64. Tempting thought.

What I found on my Twitter account was this little piece from a member of the Senate Finance Committee:
The Medicaid piece that's on the table right now, is expanding Medicaid coverage for everybody under 133% of the federal poverty level. That would be about $13,000 a year in 2009 for an individual, and about $25,000 to $26,000 for a family of four.
(where do they get numbers like 133%?)

Currently Medicaid is not open to everybody just based on their income level. In reality, to qualify for Medicaid today, you have to be below a certain income level and be at the right place at the right time. (demographics)

For clarity, I found this on the Wall Street Transcript: In many states the only people who qualify for Medicaid today who are between the ages of 19 and 64 have to either have dependent children or a disability. Healthy, childless adults between the ages of 19 and 64 generally don't qualify for Medicaid; it doesn't matter how poor they are, unless the state has been granted a waiver to expand coverage to some childless adults at the low end of the income spectrum.

I then found this on FireDogLake: The second wave would be for uninsured individuals and families that are above the 133%-income threshold, people between 133% of the poverty level and 300% of the property level. People in this income range would receive federal tax credits to go out and buy insurance in these health insurance exchanges. These are state-administered agencies where people can purchase a standardized set of benefits at a rate that's most likely been negotiated by a government entity, be it the state or the federal government. And so we estimate there are about 20 million Americans between 133% and 300% of the poverty level who would receive a tax subsidy to purchase insurance through the exchange.

Could all these last minute negotiations among our Senators yield a decent reform bill after all? Granted, this still leaves out the 40 Republicans who will accept nothing but the status quo. But if we can get the 60 knuckleheads in the majority to come together, settle this issue, and help those of us who need this option then we can get back to steering this country back to a better, more secure future.

Now, how can we convince Tim Geithner to step down?


Anonymous said...

The idea of allowing the 55+ crowd into Medicare is brilliant. It will unclog the career pipelines in most firms with this demographic group being blockers and not going anywhere because of healthcare coverage - either they can't get insurance coverage privately or the cost is prohibitive. In other words, for most people capable of early retirement the healthcare issue is the stumbling block.

I say bring this idea on and let the younger generations move up into these coveted slots clogged by the 55+ crowd!

Anonymous said...

They should make Medicare THE public option. Any citizen would be able to buy into it, insurance, and drug prices could be negotiated. Anyone not wanting to participate could keep overpaying their own program. I'd like to spend less on medical. The trick will be to keep the lobbyists from corrupting the program $$$$.

Anonymous said...

The biggest threat to quality health care for all Americans is Wall Street's ability to get people to take their eyes off of what they are really up to, while dangling bright shiny objects like "the deficit" and "out-of-control-spending" to stir up rancor between the poor and the uneducated soon to-be-poor even though these "anti-gubment" rubes have such a low place on the economic ladder that they and their children have little if any real stake in those things. However, in their imagining that they might one day "hit the lotto," they make loud noises about financial platitudes that don't even affect them. Indeed, they give new meaning to the sad reality that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich (no mater how remote)than face the reality of being poor.

Anonymous said...

Let's not overlook the fact that once health care is protected by federal law, no politician is going to talk about its repeal no matter how much money you lobby them with. Because the only thing our politicians fear more than losing lobbying funds, is that they might create ire amongst the voters who keep them in office.

Anonymous said...

Mike: a little razzle-dazzle- to take our eyes off the real target. As to when and why, my usual question. If not now, when. In reviewing this health care quest, Nixon attempted to establish a system back in 74, almost immedialtely preceding his resignation. Ford put it on hold and Carter wouldnt go near any item that Ted Kennedy sanctioned. Carter's health care proposals were left as he became an energy related Pres. Between energy costs, inflation, and the Hostages he became a one term President. Reagan was more concerned with nationalism and pride and shoes and jelly beans. Bush 1 left it off the system and Clinton dropped it when he appointed Hillary to his health care reform committee thereby ending his venture into HC. Bush II had no concerns beyond the war, and now Obama is slowly becoming a war President.
Allowing 55 year olds to participate is not the answer. Retirement age has already been increased and now some one in DC really believes that the answer is lowering the age to 55 for medicare.
What will they think of next?
oh well - like the Brooklyn Dodgers of old use to say
"wait til next year" oops it is almost next year
take care,
Shelly Z