Jon Chait’s Miserable Endorsement of Raising the Medicare Eligibility Age

By: Friday December 7, 2012 8:06 am

Since Jon Chait has never met a concession he didn’t like, he comes out with an endorsement of raising the Medicare eligibility age as part of a long-term deficit deal. So his cover for what is universally regarded as a terrible idea surely led deficit scolds seeking to use the problem to weaken the safety net to give each other high-fives.

Let’s look at Chait’s reasoning. I would probably start with the fact that he’s not 64 or 65. My parents are, and until my dad reached Medicare in November, they were paying $2,500 a month on the private market for health insurance. So I’ll be happy to provide him with their phone number so he can tell them how it’s “tolerable” for them to spend two years more than they expected doing that.

But soft! Here are his actual reasons.


Cuomo Seeks $30 Billion for Sandy Relief

By: Monday November 12, 2012 11:40 am

Chris Christie thought it a proud moment to claim, two weeks after Hurricane Sandy, that all power would be restored in the state of New Jersey. The public suffering most from the effects of the storm has not been amused by the boasts and exhortations of politicians.

“New Public Option” Not a Public Option

By: Tuesday October 30, 2012 1:45 pm

The need to offer a substitute to placate those desiring a public option created this Frankenstein monster, which was admittedly not well thought-out. Those who did it ended up with the worst of all possible worlds; no public option supporter really even knew about these multi-state plans, and they have the potential to disrupt the exchanges and cause a race to the bottom.

Romney’s Pre-Existing Condition “Plan” Involves Encouraging the States to Come Up With a Plan

By: Thursday October 4, 2012 8:20 am

What’s Gov. Romney’s plan on covering people with pre-existing conditions? He’s made it clear in the past. It’s pretty much nothing. If someone has continuous coverage, they would be able to get insurance. That’s essentially what happens with COBRA: people get to stay on their insurance if they get laid off for a period of time. And if you lose employer coverage within 90 days, you have an option to pick up coverage from an insurer. But there are tens of millions of people, close to 50 million in fact, who have broken their coverage. After all, without any actual help to purchase this coverage, it quickly becomes unaffordable.

Census Statistics Show Continued Decline in Median Income

By: Wednesday September 12, 2012 9:25 am

The US Census Bureau released median income, poverty and insurance stats today, all of which have a 90% confidence interval, meaning that there’s a fairly high margin for error. Still, the trends in median income are not encouraging, although the insurance stats bucked that trend.

Republican Platform Will Feature End of Medicare as We Know It

By: Tuesday August 28, 2012 2:10 pm

The Republican National Convention has been gaveled into order, and an already-hoarse RNC Chair Reince Priebus has begun the proceedings. The first day will include the roll call to formally nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for President and Vice President. What may have been an uncomfortable floor fight over the seating of delegates may or may not have been averted, but the key element today is the Republican platform to end Medicare as we know it.

Hidden Climate Costs: Drought Crushing Crop Insurance Industry

By: Monday August 27, 2012 2:45 pm

Farmers had already prepared for extreme weather events by purchasing more and more crop insurance in recent years. So when a historic drought hit this summer, many crop producers had the ability to handle it, although livestock producers seeing a spike in their feed costs still face major challenges. But the insurance industry will take a massive hit from crop insurance payouts, much of it reimbursed by the government, and that could rebound back to the economy.

Romney Advisor Says Medicare Eligibility Age Would Increase

By: Sunday August 19, 2012 5:00 pm

This is the action that gets the Romney campaign out of the box where it has confined themselves. They have said that they would entertain no Medicare changes for current or near-retirees. But with no changes, and indeed with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the Medicare trust fund runs out of money in 2016, at which point you have to make a number of drastic changes because otherwise your spending authority runs out. So in exchange for giving more subsidies to Medicare Advantage, and more payments to hospitals and health care providers who already voluntary gave them back in the ACA deal for more covered customers, Romney would have to do something like increase the eligibility age, and do it sometime in the first term.

Premium Support Deserves Demonization, Actually

By: Friday August 17, 2012 7:07 pm

The liberal Internet has decided to pile on this piece in The New Republic from William Galston of the Brookings Institute. Galston thinks that Democrats ought to lay off Paul Ryan, because demonizing his plans for Medicare might invalidate premium support as an option for keeping the program finances sustainable.

Medicare, Medicaid Far More Cost-Efficient Than Private Insurance

By: Saturday August 11, 2012 4:00 pm

The New England Journal of Medicine reports that Medicare and Medicaid spending has decelerated in recent years, and not just because of the Great Recession. The public programs have seen their cost growth slow significantly compared to private health insurance. And this is expected to continue for the coming decade.

This is so important because, as Paul van de Water of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains, the public debate has focused on transforming Medicare and Medicaid in the coming years, constraining cost in the very programs that are the most cost-efficient. If anything, the opposite should be true, and more and more of the system should be converted into public programs to increase the risk pool, allow for greater bargaining leverage on prices, and provide stability.

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