I hate reviewing legislation but decided I could manage to focus just on the Medicare issue. So I downloaded the summary as presented in “A Roadmap for America's Future"
It took discipline to only skim the first one third of the roadmap. This part was dedicated to criticizing all efforts to get out of the financial industry caused recession. Items like saving the millions of jobs related to the American auto industry, the economic stimulus, TARP, and attempt to regulate banks and the financial sector, etc. were all viewed as destroying America. Strangely it didn’t mention the recession, the banks role in it, or what they would do to prevent a reoccurrence. In fact, they seem determined to learn nothing and take no preventive actions. They were strongly against any additional regulation of central banks, saying it would decrease the ability of institutions to raise capital. They were against consumer protection saying it would also reduce the types of credit that would be available.
It continued with quotes on about how Americans have become too dependent on their government and were losing their initiative. They also dwelled on fantasies about the good results that their unproven budget would bring. (But that is not part of this post.)
Finally at about 60% deep into the document I found the following statement as part of the Medicare discussion.
In place of the current Federal tax law creating the market distortion – the individual income tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance – every American (except those enrolled in Medicare or a military health plan) will have the option to receive a refundable tax credit – $2,300 for individuals and $5,700 for families – to pay for health coverage. The tax credit is available solely for the purchase of health careThis is the replacement for Medicare. It is indeed a voucher system via tax credits. You will receive a health care tax credit with which you can, if you wish, directly buy a health insurance policy for yourself or your family. Payment will be made directly from your credit account to the supplier. If health costs are above the stated “voucher” amount or that of the new policy that you “negotiated” with an insurer then you are directly responsible for the difference. It is essentially all you have. There is no other pay or sharing cost with the government above that credit amount. The states are to set up exchanges to provide information to you and help you with enrollment. This is very different from Medicare where the government makes payments directly to the doctor for everyone under Medicare and provides protection against large bills.
The document claims it will reduce costs because the individual patients will negotiate the best policy for themselves rather than be subject to the current Medicare negotiations with suppliers. The patient will have the very doubtful “opportunity” of negotiating directly with the insurance companies and the doctor. Can individual patients negotiate better rates than Medicare does now with its’ millions of patients? This is very doubtful. Remember AIG, the self regulated central banks, and what they brought us.
The benefits to the insurance companies are easily identified. In fact I believe this part is so one sided that it must have been written by the insurance companies themselves. The Medicare infrastructure for processing claims and controlling costs will be destroyed. It will be individual patient against individual insurance company. The insurance companies will gain millions of new applicants with the only controls set by the industry. A standards group composed of a commission of five private commissioners will decide the standards for care (government is strictly forbidden to participate). No government overview is available.
What to conclude? What kind of policy would you get for $2300 annually from a self regulated insurance industry that sets its own rules? That information is just not available.
My conclusion is that this healthcare plan is definitely not to the benefit of the American citizen. The current so called “market distortion”they call Medicare is much better. Thank you voters of New York District 26 for realizing this.
What is both scary and disappointing are the 235 congressmen and the 40 senators who voted for it. Why are they not protecting us? Did they not understand the plan, are they bought out by the industry, or is it party loyally over citizens?
Or all three.