Monday, March 11, 2013

Just Increase the Risk Pool!

Alright, my ass is officially chapped... While Nancy Pelosi rightfully characterizes Republican plans to raise the Medicare age as taking a "scalp" rather than seeking a solution, she totally blows it when it comes to proposing the real solution to problems with Medicare. You want to fix Medicare? Drop the age requirement entirely.

The very concept of insurance depends on "pooling" risk. Insurance carriers collect the premiums of their "insureds" and aggregate the funds to allow them to pay off any claims incurred by insured entities. While riskier "insureds" typically pay higher premiums, these higher premiums are insufficient to pay off claims, therefore, the premiums paid by less risky "insureds" form the bulk of the funds used to pay claims. In the case of health insurance, older persons, in the aggregate, tend to have more health problems than younger persons, and those problems tend to be more chronic. In the U.S., younger, healthier persons tend to be covered by private insurance policies through their (or, increasingly, their parents', thanks to Obamacare) employers. Older, generally sicker, persons and disabled persons are covered by Medicare, while indigent and disabled persons (who tend to have worse health outcomes than middle class and wealthy individuals) are covered by Medicaid. Generally speaking, young healthy persons pay premiums to for-profit health insurance companies while older, sicker persons receive benefits from Medicare... a clear case of "privatize the profits, socialize the losses". By dropping the age requirement altogether, by instituting "Medicare for all", insured persons will pay into the system while they are young and healthy, thus bolstering the system in preparation for a future in which they may very well be old and sick. Raising the age of Medicare eligibility would only compound the existing problems with the system, which is why Republicans are proposing it.

Also, the idiotic Medicare Part D provisions that disallow price negotiations with drug companies need to be dropped yesterday. Yeah, the GOP congress passed provisions that hamstrung the buying power of the Medicare administrators in a blatant giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry. They clearly demonstrated that they have no desire to keep Medicare costs down, why buy into their framing of the Medicare debate at all?


OBS said...

They clearly demonstrated that they have no desire to keep Medicare costs down, why buy into their framing of the Medicare debate at all?

Because Pelosi and friends are all a bunch of spineless idiots?

If Democrats were negotiating with a three-year-old about whether the child could have ice cream for dinner, the child would get the ice cream and the Republicans would get a tax cut too.

Substance McGravitas said...

If you pool risk it means you get cooties from the risky.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

The correct answer is easy: Single payer, or shut the hell up about health care costs and entitlement spending.

There's a reason our Dems can't say it.


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

sure thunder. Because all it takes is one pure and holy politician to wave a magic wand and make it happen, and then nobody will ever try to derail it and magical ponies will shit money and piss beer, ever and ever after, amen.

You know all those single payer countries? None of them got there in one step, either.

You know what else? Social Security wasn't universal as originally enacted either.

Look, I wish everything could be made perfect immediately. Although considering the way we disagree on what perfect is, that seems unlikely anyway. For instance, I would insist that in a perfect world, the Mekons were in charge of all Art.