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View Diary: An even dumber idea: Medicare means testing (64 comments)

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  •  Yes, I think a single person with an income of (1+ / 0-)
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    MichiganChet

    $85,000 or a couple with a $170,000 income is fairly well off. They are, after all, in the top 5% of seniors and the top 10% of all Americans.

    They are not getting "decreasing benefits." They get the same benefits they always have and the same benefits everyone else gets. If you think they can get cheaper insurance, please tell me where. Their premiums are still subsidized 65% as opposed to the 75% the rest of us get.

    As for getting it from taxes, these people have paid a lower percentage of their income in Medicare taxes than the rest of the American people so I think it is perfectly fair that they are paying higher premiums.

    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

    by sewaneepat on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 02:48:14 PM PDT

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    •  Hmm. I hate to sound like a tea bagger (0+ / 0-)

      But you couple with 170,000 may not in fact be well off - not because they live in Palo Alto, or have to send their kids to private schools, or their neighbor makes a million or any of those other idiotic arguments. It is because they may face substantial health care expenses. .  .and let me trot out another statistic in that Medicare already tends to cover only half of seniors health care expenses when everything is thrown in. We know how damn expensive healthcare has become; in fact that is why we are all so excised - justifiably so - over this chained CPI issue.

      If we extended the medicare tax to all capital gains, then the wealthy would have paid exactly the same percentage, if not more, of their income into medicare as the middle class. I'm cool with that, so then they can get the same darned benefit as everyone else.

      An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

      by MichiganChet on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 06:43:09 PM PDT

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      •  A couple with $170,000 income on Medicare (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichiganChet

        has presumably bought a Supplement Plan F that pays all deductibles and copays. They also have a Part D, which even thought it is a POS for the average person does have a maximum out of pocket expense which (without looking it up) is less than $5000. They can afford an extra $47 a month each.

        As for worrying about these people in regard to the chained CPI, a couple with $170,000 income is hardly worried about losing 0.25% of the annual increase in their social security benefit (the total of which is a small part of their income.) There are reasons to be concerned about the chained CPI for some people but the seniors with $170,000 in income are not those people.

        If you extend the Medicare tax to all income, they might pay the same percentage as anyone else, but they certainly would not pay a larger percentage. Of course if you extended the Medicare tax to all unearned income no matter how much or how little that amount is, you would hurt a lot of middle income seniors. After all, middle income seniors live on SS and unearned income so you would be having those seniors paying much more than the extra $47 a month you want to save the rich seniors from paying.

        The people who pay the high premiums have exactly the same benefits from Medicare as anyone else on Medicare. they do not have lower benefits.

        You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

        by sewaneepat on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 07:06:34 PM PDT

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        •  Yes; as I mentioned, those are part of the problem (0+ / 0-)

          Those medigap policies, being subsidized are on average 14% more expensive than the federal government just providing the care. They cost the ssytem, which is why the ACA wrung the cost savings out of them.

          So more broadly, why doesn't the President extend that, rather than this means testing, which if truly held to the wealthy you cite would raise only trivial sums of money at the cost of undermining the basic social contract that supports the system? Why take that risk, when real leadership would mean getting cost savings from a system that doesn't do that

          An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

          by MichiganChet on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 08:05:57 PM PDT

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          •  You are confusing supplemental policies (0+ / 0-)

            with Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage was Bush's attempt to privatize Medicare and is what costs 14% more than original Medicare and yes, the ACA is reducing that. but Medigap is a different thing and the government never has provided this service. The government sets the standard for what various supplementals provide, but that is all.

            Medicare has been means tested in this way since 2003 and it has not undermined the social contract involved. Wealthy people still have their Medicare premiums subsidized, just not at quite the level the rest of us do.

            You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

            by sewaneepat on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 08:18:04 PM PDT

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          •  Just to be clear... (0+ / 0-)

            Supplementals - Medigap policies- do not cost the government money. These premiums are not subsidized but are totally paid for by the policy holder. Premiums for Medicare Parts B and D are subsidized by the government. Also premiums for Part C which is Medicare Advantage are subsidized.

            You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

            by sewaneepat on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 08:24:38 PM PDT

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