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View Diary: Congressional Democrats taking hard line against raising the Medicare eligibility age (114 comments)

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  •  No means testing either (13+ / 0-)

    The notion of means testing Medicare is an example of Norquist logic at its best. We already have a system for means testing entitlements - we call it the IRS. By implementing higher taxes on the wealthy we ensure the pay a higher portion of the cost of their Medicare benefits. Currently to establish eligibility for Medicare, a potential recipient only needs to establish age and eligibility by virtue of citizenship or other criterion.

    Medicare has no facility for reviewing income. In order to establish a means test, we would need an entirely new bureaucracy with the sole purpose of determining eligibility and assessing the appropriate fees (if that is the purpose). The need to establish income eligibility would fall on everyone, not just the wealthy. The reward for such a system would be that the wealthy who already abandon the system  would be screened out at enormous expense and inconvenience to everyone else, with no net savings for Medicare, an increase in overall healthcare costs, more incentives to divide healthcare into two disparate systems, and a loss of overall ability to control and coordinate health care costs.

    The only "logic" supporting means testing is the Republican orthodoxy that taxes are bad and government programs are bad, so we are better off with an expensive and unpopular system of collecting fees from a few wealthy individuals, than a cheap and efficient system of taxing those same individuals.

    Another reason to make the Republicans make the proposal and then defend it and own it.

    The idea that Republicans will just hold their breath until will all turn blue unless the Democrats agree to incorporate some politically and practically disastrous poison pill to accompany a tax cut that everyone supports is just insane.

    •  Mmedicaid is means tested. And so was Medicare for (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, divineorder

      a short time. It didn't go over well.

      Visit my Etsy Shop - Kos Katalogue Member

      by mayrose on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:53:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  People with higher incomes pay more for Medicare (0+ / 0-)

      Medicare checks with the IRS to find out if you have to pay more, and if you do, they increase your Medicare bill accordingly.

      Eradicate magical thinking

      by Zinman on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:49:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here is a link re: means testing Medicare, etc. (0+ / 0-)

        Eradicate magical thinking

        by Zinman on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:02:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't know that. (0+ / 0-)

        Sounds like we're there already on means testing, then.  Is there an income cut-off past which they deny coverage altogether?

        •  No denial point I know of, just higher rates (0+ / 0-)

          The means testing only effects people in the top eschelons of income, and it is not generally onerous for those whose incomes are high enough to be effected by the present means testing criteria. See the link I posted, and search a bit more to double check if you are interested.

          Eradicate magical thinking

          by Zinman on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:38:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  My grandfather certainly isn't rich (0+ / 0-)

            but he does have a very good insurance plan with his pension. It serves as his primary and Medicare is his supplemental. He pays virtually nothing out of pocket. If workers were treated fairly and provided for by their employers after a lifetime of work the way they used to be, Medicare expenditure would be nowhere near where they are now. It's how the program was intended, just as social security wasn't intended to be the sole income source for the elderly, but corporate greed has resulted in it becoming the sole insurance for most retirees now.

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