Sunday, August 17, 2014

Free Market Medicare starting at age 75? You'd have to be crazy...

The message I'm getting from reading about all the brutally draconian health care plans floated by either conservative politicians or right wing think tanks is this; they either don't understand health care or would rather die (likely) than see their own government step in with a solution.

Behold a new embarrassing attempt to seem creditable on health care. Which is it; stay true to ideological purity or face the reality of a failed health care system? Ideology of course.

"The conservative Manhattan Institute fellow and Forbes columnist Avik Roy offered his own plan (Avikcare?) that would supplant the ACA. Roy's 68-page tome (PDF) lays out policies" that will blow your mind. The lesson we should take away from the following "solution" is this; conservatives are completely incapable of solving the health care the rest of the world solved long ago. My answers are in bold
1. Gradually raise Medicare's eligibility age to 75. Is Avik f**king kidding. That keeps retired seniors in the private health care market longer, so they can pay higher and higher premiums, forcing them to blow through their life savings on insurance instead of travel. Breathtaking? Which means…

2. …Shift most Medicare and Medicaid enrollees onto the exchanges. Same answer from above. 

3. Repeal the individual mandate. This would allow freeloaders into the system again, raising health care costs to those who pay for insurance. Wow.

4. Replace the mandate and Obamacare's annual 3 month open enrollment with a 6 week open-enrollment period every 2 years, giving people a strong incentive. “Strong incentive” is conservative lingo for penalty, while being very coercive.

5. Federal premium subsidies would phase out at 317% of the federal poverty level instead of the current 400%. Cost-sharing subsidies would be converted to health savings account contributions. This would decrease the subsidies substantially for those approaching the cutoff point, making insurance unaffordable. When it comes to cost subsidies, this is just ridiculous busy work, since what's done automatically now would have to be manually take that money in their savings and pay down their premium anyway. 

6. Strips down exchange regulations so insurers can create plans that “are more attractive to consumers,” or those that are cheaper, but have fewer covered benefits. This is the creation of junk policies that pay for nothing. Everyone should see that I hope. It also straps customers with uncovered expenses all-the-while paying their monthly premiums to insurers.

7. Insurers would be allowed to charge older Americans premiums six times as high as younger people, compared with the current 3-1 differential. Wow, not a good deal for seniors, while lowering the cost for the young healthy invincible's. It creates two problems. 

8. Roy’s plan would save the government $8 trillion over 30 years and increase health coverage by 12.1 million people compared with ACA projections. Impossible for all the reasons above.

9. Roy's proposal almost certainly will not appeal to members of the tea party faction, which vehemently opposes any government involvement in healthcare. Yes, the tea party is a reckless, dangerous gathering of people who either don’t know health care history, or are incapable of learning from the past and are prone to repeat it. The free market will certainly leave the sick to die, like it did before the Affordable Care Act.

The Problem with the Press: The media will treat this like it’s a serious debatable plan, instead of the predictable nightmare anyone who reads this would see instantly. 

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