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Purple-eyes twin owls
There has been heated talk among liberals and the left over the weekend since Jonathan Chait and Ezra Klein each wrote pieces about the possibility that President Obama might agree in negotiations over the fake fiscal cliff with House Speaker John Boehner to raise the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67. Klein says this seems to be how the negotiations are shaking out. Chait said this wouldn't be the worst option. And that kindled the flames, including a sharp retort from David Dayen.

Others have weighed in as well. If eligibility were raised, it would mean around five million young seniors would be moved from the entitlement program into the private insurance market or, if they met the income requirements, Medicaid.

Paul Waldman writes What Raising the Medicare Eligibility Age Means:

In all this talk of the bloated entitlement system, you'd be forgiven for thinking Medicare was some kind of inefficient, overpriced big government program. But the opposite is true, and that's why raising the eligibility age is such a dreadful idea.

Raising the eligibility age saves very little money, on the order of a few billion dollars a year. That's because the 65 and 66-year-olds will have to get insurance somewhere, and many of them are going to get it with the help of the federal government, either through Medicaid or through the insurance exchanges, where they'll be eligible for subsidies. However, since many Republican-run states are refusing to expand Medicaid in accordance with the Affordable Care Act, lots of seniors who live in those states will just end up uninsured, which will end up leading to plenty of financial misery and more than a few premature deaths. Put this all together, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that while the federal government would save $5.7 billion a year from raising the eligibility age, costs would increase by more than twice in other parts of the system—for the seniors themselves, employers, other enrollees in exchanges who would pay higher premiums, and state governments.

What we'd be doing is taking people off Medicare, the most efficient and inexpensive option for them to have insurance, and putting them into the individual market, which works less well and costs more. When we start talking about this in more detail, that's what Republicans should really be forced to address.

Jonathan Kohn writes No, Don't Raise the Retirement Age:

Obama has been crystal clear about his demands in this debate. Tax rates on high incomes must go up. The debt ceiling drama has to end. He has made no similarly ironclad statements about the Medicare age. Obama would prefer to reduce Medicare spending by continuing to reform the way it pays for goods and services. He's even proposed a series of such reductions. But if it took more to get the concessions he wants from the Republicans? If it took something else to get what he thinks is a major deal on fiscal policy? Under those conditions, Obama would probably agree to a higher Medicare age—just like he did in 2011, when he was negotiating with House Speaker John Boehner over how to increase the debt ceiling. "The president put it on the table once before," says a senior Democratic aide on Capitol Hill. "I wouldn't be surprised if he did it again."

The idea made me queasy back then. And it makes me queasy now. As both fiscal and health care policy, increasing the Medicare age from 65 to 67, even gradually, has very little to recommend it. The federal government would save money, yes, but only because state governments, employers and individual seniors would pay more. Overall, the nation would end up spending more on medical care, not less. That’s the very opposite of what public policy, including Obamacare, is trying to achieve.

Sarah Kliff at the Washington Post has pointed to the work of David Card, Carlos Dobkin and Nicole Maestas at the National Bureau of Economic Research who found that those most hurt by a rise in the eligibility age would be minorities. Here's their graph comparing insurance coverage when less-educated minorities and more educated whites become eligible for Medicare.
Note the sharp jump in this graph of health insurance coverage for minorities when Medicare kicks in. (Chart does not start at zero in order to better show magnitude of change.) Click here for larger chart and scroll to appendix on page 42.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2002Americans hijack Iraq weapons doc:

As if the US wasn't already losing the PR war in its mad rush to war against Iraq...
Diplomats and U.S. officials said Monday that after an intense lobbying campaign, the United States received an early and uncut copy of Iraq's 11,807-page weapons declaration and whisked it to Washington for analysis.

The United States was then put in charge of making duplicates for its four fellow permanent members of the U.N. Security Council—Britain, China, France and Russia—on grounds that Washington had the best photocopying capabilities.[...]

The Security Council had previously agreed to leave the report with U.N. inspectors until it was screened for material that might aid others in making weapons. All five permanent members are nuclear powers.

The decision upset several of the 10 non-permanent members of the 15-member Security Council, including Norway and Syria, as it overrode what the body had decided Friday.

And why would the Americans want first dibs at the document? Because it would allow it to scrub it clean of the names of foreign corporations that helped Iraq build its WMD programs.

Of course, there's an easy solution to this whole mess. Iraq should simply leak the document to the press. If the Bushies are insistent on starting this war, then I want to know what role American companies played in building Iraq's arsenal.

Tweet of the Day:

It's not a fiscal cliff that is the problem. 400 people own as much wealth as 150 million people. That is the problem. #My2K #tcot #FB
@Mozi_N via web

It's "Thinking Out Loud About the Fiscal Thingy" day on the Kagro in the Morning show, with Greg Dworkin and Armando, who ponder with us the possibilities as time winds down on the 112th Congress. Will we see a "Grand Bargain" negotiated in stages? A separate tax deal before the year is out? A quickie deal to kick the can down the road on sequestration? What about the debt ceiling? Does it even belong in these negotiations? Finally, a look back at an August show with David Nir discussing the craziness in Michigan's 11th Congressional District, now coming to fruition!

High Impact Posts. Top Comments.

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Comment Preferences

  •  642,845 registered users on dKos now. (23+ / 0-)

    Here are the 10 newest registered users on dKos.  Hope to see their comments and diaries here soon!  (If they're not all spammers.)

    Nature Advocate
    brazilianhairweavega (user #642,840: spammer)
    lapscrap (user #642,844: spammer)

    And since our society is obsessed with numbers that end in a lot of zeros as milestones, here's a special shoutout to users:
    #642,700: website4india (spammer)
    #642,800: Burt1983 (spammer)

    We've added 167 more users in the last 24 hours.  This is a continuation going back to May where we've been absolutely flooded with new users.  I'm pretty sure almost all of these new users are spammers or bots.  While the rate had been getting faster, it seems they suddenly started slowing down right when Hurricane Sandy hit.  It slowed down to under 1,000 new users in a 24-hour period, and now we're back down to somewhat over 100 new users every 24 hours or so.  What were they planning?

    And for your Diary Rescue music pleasure, here's Tom Lehrer's "Hanukkah in Santa Monica".

    And here's a version of the song from the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles.

  •  Everyone should watch... (12+ / 0-)

    the Nat Geo show Seconds from Disaster, which carefully details major disasters in recent world history, and the chain of events that went horribly wrong that led to disaster.  With manmade things, there's almost always some regulation that a corporation wanted to skip to reduce costs, and lack of oversight from that evil government the Republicans and libertarians always want to cut back on.

    Well, folks, this is what happens without regulations, when you let private industry dictate the rules.  Here's the entire episode about the Norway massacre from last year.

    Many of the episodes are available in full on YouTube.  Watch them while thinking about what could have been done to prevent those disasters from happening, and in almost every case, it's government that could've mandated some extra check or regulation to stop the disaster.  And usually, they DID end up stepping in, but only after the disaster happened and hundreds of people died.

    And these episodes also show why the Ron Paul crowd is delusional when they think corporations will police themselves, or that the public will shame them into good business and safety practices by ourselves.

    And as for this episode, it also shows the end result of right-wing extremism and hatred.  They're desperate to erase Breivik from our memory and how he communicated with the likes of Pamela Geller on her blog as well as others; we cannot let them.

  •  Make sure your speakers are turned all the way up. (8+ / 0-)

    And behold.

    Muahahahahahahahahaha.  :-P

  •  So...How much does it actually hurt to raise (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueJessamine, Jeff Y

    the Medicare age in an ACA world?

    Barring a change to the Medicare eligibility age, I'm looking to receive it in another 5 years, and, frankly, the thought terrifies me.  My tiny little anecdotal sample of Medicare recipients among family and friends is extremely discouraging with regard to the quality of care.

    On the other hand, starting in 2014, ACA will make highly subsidized care available.  If I understand correctly, until such time as I reach Medicare age, I will be able to get affordable health care (at a cost that slides with my income) in the same way as everybody else.  No Medicare, no "no new Medicare patients" or anything like that.

    Sounds like a better deal to me.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:38:08 PM PST

    •  So we should be advocating for paying more into... (7+ / 0-)

      the Medicare system instead of all this nonsense about "only" cutting payments to providers.

      "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

      by 2020adam on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:53:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, 2020adam, I think you shoud advocate for (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, 2020adam

        raising the Medicare tax rate which has been at 1.45 percent (plus equal employer match) since 1986.

        We all know the price of health care has risen disproportionatey when compared to most other things wee buy since 1986, so the price of Medicare premiums paid during your working years should be rising, too.

        I have advocated increasing the premium on a couple of other diaries recently with little indication that I'm making the point clearly enough. I'm already "over 65," so it won't affect me much, but I'd like to be able to help assure the continuation of Medicare for future seniors (until single payer for everyone is available) if at all possible.

        “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

        by RJDixon74135 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 02:32:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let's tackle the other side of the coin, (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gramofsam1, RJDixon74135, JeffW, 2020adam

          which is the rising cost of health care.  The government should be negotiating drug prices, limiting overhead (as I think it does with ACA), and reining in private insurance companies.  We all know that we live in a society that reveres tests and drugs as the solutions to every medical problem. We also live in a litigious society, so health care providers do many unnecessary things to cover their backsides.

          Ed Schultz showed a table last night that indicated the cost of insuring and caring for people between the ages of 65-67 would go from about $5 bil to over $11 bil, if done by private insurers rather than Medicare.  If I haven't remembered the correct numbers, then substitute "double" for the numbers.

          •  Yes, that must be done, too (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JeffW, 2020adam

            But I wouldn't depend on it if I were you.  

            Another thing that would help would be to get jobs for the millenials (aka the echo boomers) born between 1982 and 1995. Believe it or not, they make up about one third of the US population. Once they are working and paying in to Medicare and Social Security, both systems should smooth out. And, we should definitely NOT let Republicans plan for the future of those programs based on the notion that this economy, the worst since the great depression, will continue forever.

            But, if raising the Medicare tax one-half percent assures the future of the program, it's worth it.

            “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

            by RJDixon74135 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:55:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I'm probably about the same age (11+ / 0-)

      and frankly, I do not trust that we can be confident of "highly subsidized" care....from what I've read, the ACA plans will have much bigger co-pays and co-insurance (for the affordable plans) and the costs will rise with age. Depnding on your income, you'll probably get some sort of subsidy but you'll still have to shell out a lot to cover premiums and co-pays. It's private insurance, after all, and we don't actually know how much it will cost, unlike Medicare which we do. Many people will end up uninsured in places that don't extend Medicaid, and it's possible that if you make too much for Medicaid you may still be unable to afford the exchange plans, even with subsidies. All we have to go on is the Massachusetts experience, and health insurance is pretty expensive there and the state government is just starting to grapple with how to bend the cost curve downward.  

      What sort of problems have your friends had with Medicare?  

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:53:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yep Dinotrac assumes the federals will have (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Heart of the Rockies, JeffW

        ultimate control over ACA in its implementation while it seems it may be more like an expansion of MCD than MC which would still leave some states with vulnerable populations since some governors and legislatures have made it very clear they have no intention of doing one iota than they absolutely have to

    •  Depends on income & cost controls (9+ / 0-)

      Purchasing private insurance under ACA isn't cheap, especially for those in the middle class.  

      The problem is compounded by the fact that the cost controls in ACA were significantly weakened.  Working class retirees (as well as those still working) are at significant risk of seeing their private insurance premiums skyrocket - there's really nothing to stop that from happening.  Add to it the fact that insurance companies are allowed to charge much higher premiums to older Americans.

      Medicaid expansions will only help those Americans earning 133% of FPL or less. For a family of 2, that means you have to have a household income of $15,130 or less to qualify for Medicaid.  Not good.  

      With Medicare, there's much less risk of premium costs skyrocketing, much greater chance that middle and lower income seniors will see their out of pocket costs increase.

      Then there's the big gap for out of pocket costs....

      Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

      by Betty Pinson on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:00:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It does depend on your income, but... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlueJessamine, DRo

        Let's see:

        If I were to make no more than 2.5 times the Federal Poverty Level -- which, btw, is right about the US median family income -- I would qualify for tax credits sufficient to make the second cheapest silver insurance plan cost no more than 8% of my gross income, PLUS supports in the plan would pick up 73% of out of pocket expenses.

        That doesn't sound too bad, especially since there are out of pocket expenses associated with Medicare, too.

        The downside, of course, is that the subsidies come in the form of tax credits.  If I'm not working and having taxes deducted, I have to pay up front and get the money returned at tax time.  That could hurt.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:16:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The other downside, of course, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DRo, RJDixon74135, JesseCW

          is that your government is then wasting all that money by insuring you in a less efficient manner.

          "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

          by 2020adam on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:27:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wait a minute -- the ACA is supposed to save money (0+ / 0-)

            and besides, I'm more concerned with good care than efficient bad care.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:37:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's supposed to save money compared to our... (5+ / 0-)

              current, less regulated private market, not compared to Medicare, which takes no profit at all.

              And all the horror stories you hear are simply and straightforwardly because we've accepted cuts to the "provider side" as No Big Deal, ignoring the plain fact that said providers are free to tell Medicare recipients to fuck off since they have bills to pay and Medicare no longer keeps up with those costs.

              "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

              by 2020adam on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:43:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  ACA demands that 80-85% of premiums get spent... (4+ / 0-)

              on Medical care, while Medicare only spends somewhere between 1.5-5% on overhead.

              "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

              by 2020adam on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:47:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Good luck getting coverage you want. (5+ / 0-)

              We just went from a quite good (although not nearly "excellent) plan to one that is geographically limited and provides limited doctors because premiums increased so dramatically over the span of one year. Most of us at the company are being forced to change our doctors. Every specialist has to be pre-approved. If you get sick outside the geographically limited area, your option is the ER (subject to a huge deductible) or drive/fly all the way home. There is no "well, I'll just go to a local doctor for a much cheaper office visit" option.

              So if your family or friend says, "here, go to my doctor," that's not covered. If the hotel offers to call you a doctor because you're too sick to move, that's not covered.

              December 31, it is. January 1st it won't be.

              Want to pay the doctor yourself? Fine, but any prescriptions she writes won't be covered either. So that infection, pneumonia, etc that she diagnosed while you are across the country or simply a county away, you're totally on you're own to pay for.

              What were you saying about good care?

              That's how life in the private market works. ACA is life in the private market with few regulations about pricing.

              I'd rather stick with Medicare. But by the time I get to my 60s, the Rrpublicans will have destroyed it, with Dems idly standing by.

              © grover

              So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

              by grover on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 10:59:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  even if the doc participates (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Heart of the Rockies, JeffW

                don't forget the carrier may take a year or more to reimburse the provider if the provider is ever reimbursed as you and your doctor try to navigate through a maze of private rules and preconditions

                •  I have had surgery twice in recent years, (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  dinotrac, JeffW

                  and my surgeons have yet to be paid.  Medicare pre-approves surgeries, then after they are done denies payment on the basis of the surgery being unnecessary. Congress is simply dicking around with health care providers who must maintain offices and staffs with a politically driven and uncertain income stream.  No wonder many of them don't want to accept Medicare patients.  Private insurers are no better.

                  There have to be better ways to control costs.

                  •  Nail. Hit. Head. Yup. (0+ / 0-)

                    Nothing has been done about the way we practice medicine.  
                    ACA was not about the problem.  ACA was about the way we pay for the problem.

                    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                    by dinotrac on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:38:24 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Am in the private market now, and appreciate (0+ / 0-)

                the crappiness of that situation.

                The subsidies in ACA change the picture dramatically, though, albeit with the problem that out-of-pocket costs must be managed for 1 year.

                I feel out of character saying nice things about ACA, but, really, it's more a matter of Medicare-fear.

                I have always considered ACA to be a steaming pile of crap with some good nuggets buried inside.  The biggest problem, however, is that it -- just like Medicare -- ignores the real problem: health care itself costs twice as much as it should, at least when compared to countries whose health care systems are superior to ours.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:30:36 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You think? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  It's become worse. The CA insurance commissioner is requesting an investigation because the private insurers are still raising rates and raking in record profits.

                  How? By increasing certain healthcare payments.

                  The higher payments are, the higher the total outlay. The higher the 100% is, the higher the 20% is.

                  So where do the "certain" payments go? Well, all I know is that the plan that we're being moved to is being offered by a major healthcare provider. There are a few minor providers included (but notably, not this provider's biggest local competitor) which keeps it from being classified as a true HMO.

                  Huh. Wonder who gets paid a little extra there.

                  It's all a scam.

                  ACA is better than nothing. Getting rid of caps and pre-existing conditions exclusions is huge.

                  But it's certainly not socialized medicine that conservatives fear. And it's not a panacea at all.

                  © grover

                  So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

                  by grover on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:34:38 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  There's a fallacy in your argument (5+ / 0-)

          There's nothing in the law that guarantees your right to premiums equal to 8% of your gross income.

          The law does say that, if the lowest cost private insurance available to you (plus tax credits) exceeds 8% of your gross income, then you're not subject to a fine if you decide not to have health care coverage.

          Let me repeat that, there is no guarantee that your premium minus tax credits will equal 8% or less of your gross income.  

          The only guarantee is that you won't be subjected to fines if you drop a plan and become uninsured if that plan is too costly for you.

          Obviously, there aren't many seniors who are willing to become uninsured, so they'll be forced to pay premiums at anyway even if they are higher.  

          But there is no mechanism in ACA to force insurance companies to keep their premiums at an affordable level.

          Link to ACA Fact Sheet

          Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

          by Betty Pinson on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:55:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think the clearest comparison to being uninsured (0+ / 0-)

            under ACA is to compare it to state's where drivers can be uninsured.  The drivers pay a fee to the state and then no longer have to carry insurance.  Matter of fact, my car carrier has policies which offer uninsured driver insurance to cover me if I am hit by an uninsured driver

          •  The law makes tax credits available based on the (0+ / 0-)

            second lowest silver coverage available.

            Those tax credits bring the cost of that plan to 8% of your income if you earn the national median.  In an echo of the voucher plans that Republicans were pushing, that same subsidy can be applied to more or less expensive plans, but you don't get money back if you apply it to an approved plan that costs less than the subsidy.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:47:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •   If you earn the national medium (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              that's an important caveat.  Many working class seniors will have incomes below the national median.  So its very possible many seniors won't have a choice but to purchase a plan that his costly - meaning more out of pocket costs.

              Add in the complexity and unpredictability of state plans and your have a mess on your hands.  

              I seriously doubt many people age 65 and older will opt for this over getting Medicare.

              Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

              by Betty Pinson on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:12:02 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oops, median (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

                by Betty Pinson on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:15:32 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  If you earn less than the national median, you (0+ / 0-)

                are likely to pay even less. For example, if you make about 80% of the national median, you will pay only 6% (or maybe it's 6.5%, I can't remember) of your income.

                Not only is your payment based on a percentage of your income --  8% of 50,000 = $4,000 but 8% of $40,000 is only $3,200, but the percentages change as you go down.

                So... that $40,000, depending on where you live, is right around the family threshold for the lower rate, so, if the percentage is 6.5%, you would pay $2600 for your insurance.

                Again -- there is a big asterisk: the subsidies come in the form of tax credits.  If you can't adjust your W-4 sufficiently, you won't get the subsidy until you file your tax return.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:18:35 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  That leaves you lugging 27% of out of (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Heart of the Rockies, JeffW

          pocket expenses.

          Medicare is at 20%, at most.

          What's more, we'd be paying three times as much for your coverage.

          Because you heard some bad things about Medicare?  We should skip a few million free school lunches, deny a few million kids a college education, and fail to fight global warming because you think for-profit private insurance might be better?

          This place needs a PVP server.

          by JesseCW on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 03:27:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm telling you to do anything. (0+ / 0-)

            I'm talking about the choices available to me.

            So -- query me this, Batman:

            If YOU'd be paying 3 times less for my coverage through Medicare, even though I'd be paying less out of my pocket, and Medicare services are delivered through the very same health care system that delivers them for privately insured people:

            How in the Hell could I get remotely the same level of care?

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:51:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Don't be too terrified- (17+ / 0-)

      my husband and I have been on Medicare for a couple of years, and so far no problems at all. Neither of us had to change doctors. I don't really use it much, am ridiculously and inexplicably healthy, but my husband has had some problems ranging from minor to not so minor. He's always had his choice of specialists, and really everyone I know has had the same experience.

      I'd heard some of the same stories about quality and access, but so far have not seen it. In fact, my husband was just saying that he likes the system much better than our previous private insurance.

      •  I'm glad for you. You don't want the experiences (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlueJessamine, Eric Nelson

        some of my family members have had.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:17:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe it depends on where you live- (3+ / 0-)

          we're fortunate to be reasonably close to Philadelphia, and there is a very extensive medical community. I do understand that in some parts of the country, a shortage of physicians can lead to doctors being very choosy about which patients they accept, and that can be a problem.

        •  specificity is always nice in personal testimonial (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, Heart of the Rockies

          so we can understand the exact anecdotal information on which you are relying

          •  Sure. (0+ / 0-)

            Long waits for treatment -- cataract surgery is the last one I remember.
            Cursory treatment -- heartburn...after a looong time, well -- I think maybe it's your gall bladder...Whoops! Ha! How do you like that? It was really esophogeal cancer.  Get your things in order. You've got six months tops.
            Inflexible treatment -- Medication making you vomit?  Here, take this ant-nausea med.  Combo making you vomit worse? Well, get over it.


            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:43:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  care to provide an anecdote? The examples you (0+ / 0-)

              provide are a bit disjointed but as far as cursory treatment for heartburn, that is not unusual as 99% of heartburn is either trivial in causation and then you move to the other possibilities such as reflux disease or maybe a hiatal, unless there is some sort of red flag such as the pt being a heavy smoker or in certain industries such as farming

              There is a flow chart of treatments  for various conditions as you can't scope every pt with heartburn because if you did, you may find yourself up for fraud charges if you bill insurance or defending your license with the medical board if the hospital is not paid due to unnecessary treatment

              •  Ummm....All I ever claimed was that I am afraid (0+ / 0-)

                of Medicare because of the experiences of people that I know and love.

                I have not claimed anything beyond that.

                BTW -- My FIL was a heavy smoker and, yes, that should have been a red flag.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:02:59 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  then there was a failure in the initial history (0+ / 0-)

                  and also in subsequent histories. With the advent of EMR systems instead of classical charts there is supposed to be less of this.

                  However having lived with MC and w/o MC. I find I prefer MC to no insurance at all

                  •  Hard to believe. My FIL was never shy about that. (0+ / 0-)

                    But I have to agree with you: Medicare is infinitely better than no insurance at all.

                    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                    by dinotrac on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:12:32 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  question is if the history taker felt it was (0+ / 0-)

                      important or if the history were ever reviewed. With paper charts, there is a lot of information which is never relayed up the feeding chain to the doctor.  In 1984, average time spent with a pt was around 30 minutes or so (from memory) while today it is around 10 minutes.  accurate histories are one casualty of the demand for productivity

                      •  Hit the nail on the head there. (0+ / 0-)

                        We spend more money for less time with the doctor.
                        That will lead to big misses in care.

                        That's my big disappointment with ACA.  Lots of making sure people have to send money to insurance companies.  Not so much making sure that care is done in a rational way.

                        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                        by dinotrac on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:20:18 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

      •  Medicare (5+ / 0-)

        for ALL! Been there done that. If Obama give's into rethugs on age eligibility he is hurting the people who voted for him. Call your congressperson.. No Change to benefits. They are NOT entitlements. We paid for it with payroll tax our whole life.

        "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between" Oscar Wilde

        by angry hopeful liberal on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 10:05:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I have tried being insured commercially, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, Heart of the Rockies, JeffW

        being uninsured and having MC. I prefer MC

      •  Ditto here. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gramofsam1, JeffW

        At our age, most of our family and friends are on Medicare.  Our parents were on Medicare.  We hear (heard, in the case of our parents) no horror stories even remotely comparable to what our children and their generation are going through with private insurance.

    •  I view ACA's subsidization scheme as little (3+ / 0-)

      more than a bit of corporate welfare for insurance companies.

      It's going to work out pretty well for families in a "sweet spot" where the subsidy actually picks up a good chunk of the tab. But it's going to hurt everybody in the long run without significant improvements to cost controls measures.

      For what it's worth, I've had nothing but uniformly positive feedback regarding Medicare coverage. Most of the people on Medicare I know complained more about attitudes of health care professionals and the relatively impersonal care that is increasingly common. Medicaid, on the other hand, is another matter--and probably closer to what the subsidized insurance plans will actually look like than anything an employer offers.

    •  And if it bankrupts a nation for the sake (0+ / 0-)

      of lining the pockets of the grafters in the middle, what's the big deal?

      This place needs a PVP server.

      by JesseCW on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 03:22:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder if I got enough people to sign a (6+ / 0-)

    a White House petition, whether Pres Obama would consider invading Texas and liberating their people from the right wing dumbasses down there who run things?

    UT Law Professor Says Blacks and Mexican-Americans Can’t Compete with White Students

    Controversial University of Texas at Austin law professor Lino Graglia gave an interview to the BBC in which he claims, among other things, that blacks and Latinos can't compete with white students, particularly because of the fact that so many of them are raised in single-parent households.

    Graglia's interview was related to the fact, as we've told you, UT is currently in a battle with a white student it rejected who claims that the school's affirmative action program is to blame for her having to go to a second-rate college.

    Chicago--Proud Home of the 1907-08 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs

    by Jeff Y on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:41:19 PM PST

  •  All the more reason for the Rethugs (10+ / 0-)

    to fight even harder to see that it happens.

    Raising Medicare eligibility age would hurt minorities most
    For them good policy is anything that works against minorities, the poor, those with disabilities and women.
    Watch them jump with glee.

    Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

    by JoanMar on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:42:03 PM PST

  •  Are you f'in kidding me?!?!?! (4+ / 0-)

    According to this NYT article, HSBC is getting a pass on money laundering because they are too big to fail.

    We are infinitely better off with Obama for the next 4 years than we ever would be with Rmoney.... but this is bullshit. This is one of the reasons why my enthusiasm for President Obama grows weaker day by day. Are you fucking kidding me?

  •  My proposal for the Fiscal Cliff of Certain Doom (4+ / 0-)

    Okay, we've got the competing plans from wealthy people on both sides of the political divide in Washington. How about we put together a plan dreamed up by regular, everyday folks who aren't familiar with depreciation schedules, tax shelters, capital gains tax rates for robber barons and suchlike.

    Then we'll put the two plans side-by-side, and have a vote. How about it?

  •  I wish I still lived in San Jose, sometimes (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueJessamine, JeffW, Aunt Pat, greenbird

    Because that way I would have been about an hour away from the Daily Kos HQ. Who knows, they might have even let me in to the party.

    Awesome photos of this event in Navajo's diary.

    And yes, MB, that really is a great picture of you.

    And I'm not just "kissing-up," Trix.


    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:44:34 PM PST

  •  Thanks for Covering This Topic. (5+ / 0-)

    Unless there is some shouting and push back this may happen.  Been banging on the drum for a long time.  It's nice to get some help.

  •  We ought to be realists (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    franklyn, Aunt Pat

    Zygotes are holy and old people are just old enough to have made the decision for teh Jeebus or go to teh hell.

    It's simple. Picked the wrong side of the vaginal wall and time itself. You're all doomed.

    Doomed. No really.. Doomed. Ninth level of hell, gay doomed. Listen to the snake and eat the apple doomed. Cheat on your wife doomed.

    Camel through the eye of a needle doomed.

    Take a breath on this planet doomed.

    The dire straits facing America are not due poor people having too much money

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:47:17 PM PST

  •  Michigan Governor is a piece of shit (5+ / 0-)

    I just saw him making a statement after he was schooled in private by federal-level democratic legislators and he couldn't even summon right-wing arrogance, he was very flustered and appeared incredibly weak and pathetic, he failed to coherently deliver his talking points.  

    When are we going to get this ridiculous level of corporate money out of our elections?!?!

    Syder, Walker, Scott et al, they don't care about getting reelected, they just sign a bunch of ALEC legislation and then get a lucrative job at a lobbying firm.  


    It's not easy being a Floridian: PS I'm a lawYER now; no longer a lawSTUDENT.

    by lawstudent922 on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:54:32 PM PST

  •  Having a bad night (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, BlueJessamine, DeadHead, grover

    what do you call it when you have a scream inside that needs to come out and it can not find an exit without feeling like a fucking sissy baby?  l tend to be pretty level but tonight is killing me...

    -6.25 -5.3 If I ever leave this world alive The madness that you feel will soon subside...

    by dansk47 on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:54:35 PM PST

  •  Raising the medicare eligibility age would hurt (9+ / 0-)

    everyone and just a GOP trick to move toward privatization of medical care.

    We should lower the eligibility age incrementally every year until we have universal, single payer care.

    •  The poor in America not only work more physical (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      akmk, JeffW

      jobs but also start work earlier.   I know I started work when I was seven with farm work and in a few years when I reach sixty seven will have sixty years of work under my belt. You can still see children working the farms and small family businesses.  

      My family lost our farm because of medical expenses. My grandmother had cancer before Medicare and spent more than a year in hospital until she passed and the expenses were overwhelming.  Private insurance is a scam, a costly impediment to actual care. There is no real reason every business has to be involved in healthcare when single payer is not only cheaper but overnight gets every non health related business out of the healthcare business.

      "Now, people ask me all the time how we got four surplus budgets in a row. What new ideas did we bring to Washington? I always give a one-word answer: Arithmetic. " Bill Clinton

      by Amayupta yo on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 06:14:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  photo (6+ / 0-)

    We just may have a white christmas after all.

    And when he came back to, he was flat on his back on the beach in the freezing sand, and it was raining out of a low sky, and the tide was way out. --DFW

    by klingman on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:58:51 PM PST

    •  Beautiful (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      Where abouts is this?

      "the Devil made me buy this dress!" Flip Wilson as Geraldine Jones

      by BlueJessamine on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:09:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Awwww.. Now you're just messing with me! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Friday and Saturday, the forecast was snow for inland hills over 500 feet. So I waited and waited. And we ran errands and did Christmassy stuff.

      It was about 45 degrees and sunny.

      Lovely December weather. I was so bummed.

      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 11:13:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Question (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, BlueJessamine, Eric Nelson

    Does Gov. Snyder have to factor in the potential of a recall election? I don't know how it works, I assume not since no one has raised this issue.  Just curious.

    It's not easy being a Floridian: PS I'm a lawYER now; no longer a lawSTUDENT.

    by lawstudent922 on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:59:42 PM PST

  •  So the proposal is that we should spend more, (0+ / 0-)

    but in a way that allows our leaders in government to evade responsibility and indulge their nonsense fetish for paying off debts that aren't due.

    "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

    by 2020adam on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:02:51 PM PST

  •  Rachel Maddow's Montage of DOOM (3+ / 0-)

    GOP 1993



    The 1st Amendment gives you the right to say stupid things, the 1st Amendment doesn't guarantee a paycheck to say stupid things.

    by JML9999 on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:05:19 PM PST

  •  THIS IS SHEER LUNACY.... (5+ / 0-)

    Studies have shown that people's chronic diseases get better once they reach 65 and can afford health care.

    WTF  would any CIVILIZED country want to delay that happening???

    It's long overdue for US to form an offense and make our demands known. Otherwise we will forever suffer playing wait-and-see with the Washington malfeasance.

    Let Single Payer try on the glass slipper too!

    by seastar on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:18:12 PM PST

  •  This Michigan fiasco illustrates (4+ / 0-)

    That tactically, republicans have learned oohing.  The best way to awaken the labor movement is to force through right to work in 8 hrs without any warning.  They should have paid attention in Florida and Ohio when voting rights were curtailed, thereby leading to a dramatic increase in expected voter turn out.  


    It's not easy being a Floridian: PS I'm a lawYER now; no longer a lawSTUDENT.

    by lawstudent922 on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:20:24 PM PST

  •  Raising eligibility agecost a lot more too (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueJessamine, JeffW, this just in, OLinda

     Ezra Klein's 2 minute challenge: explaining why raising medicare eligibility age is stupid (my word) and costs much more short & long term
    (15 or 30 second commercial - sorry)
     Although I don't agree with Ezra that because it hurts less than other cuts some Democrats might go for it - at least not any Democrats I'd ever consider voting for.

    It hurts minorities and the most vulnerable among us,  is a waste of money and is a bad unnecessary move

    Raising the age = a trophy for republicans - so is excepting anything less than Clinton era 39.6% . Raise the offered stakes if anything next time the republicans balk as a basic negotiating principle when dealing with obstinate assholes, and it's needed too imo

    Also I don't think  Nancy Pelosi will give an inch on this  

  •  Michigan is facing a potentially big crackdown... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    Please check out this diary as they face their showdown with the legislature and Rick Snyder over the Right-to-Work-for-Less bill:

    "Michigan Fights Back Against "Right-to-Work," Wisconsin Stands Alongside and Braces for Onslaught"

    They are going to need our support from all around the country in the coming days, months and years.  It could be your state next.  Stand with Michigan!  Solidarity!!

  •  Carrot on a string only works so long (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    How many centuries has an inept aristocracy been dangling and needing castration again?

    Giddyup, my ass, motherfucker, err "Gelding"

    The dire straits facing America are not due poor people having too much money

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:40:50 PM PST

  •  A sad night here in Washington (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, DeadHead

    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

    by Lefty Coaster on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:42:37 PM PST

  •  I have a counterproposal. Lower the medicare age (7+ / 0-)

    to 60.

    Again, this is the most efficient part of our health care system. Raising the age is a huge financial burden for not only citizens but also employers and for our various disability programs.

    Even if you had to pay a higher percentage of your own premium at younger ages, it would still be worth it.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 10:37:23 PM PST

  •  but those whose bodies give out first are manual (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, JeffW

    laborers and those w/o health insurance while we all know from Mitt and the GOP that minorities are all moochers, given bread and circuses for their votes.  We are told they live off welfare and have free HCR from MCD and are able to afford T Bone steaks and Cadillacs.  So how could they possibly be the ones who would need SSDI and MC before the nonminorities who, we are assured, are the real ones doing all the work in the country and bearing a disproportionate burden?

    Say it ain't so Mitt.  Explain to us how moochers end up looking as if they spent the last 30-40 years doing hard backbreaking labor for little money and less HCR.

  •  I have a question. Someone please tell me the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, DeadHead

    dates and exact location
    for NN 13.

    I simply don't know where to look
    at this wonderful Daily Kos website,
    for such information.

    Pretty sure I can't afford to attend,
    and I read somewhere that
    don't cover transportation.

    I need,
    we need,
    to have one of these,
    here in Wichita,
    right in the middle,
    so that everyone who lives on
    either coast,
    can meet in the middle,
    and my wife and I
    would actually rent a hotel room,
    to be in walking distance of the group gatherings,
    but we could drive across town,
    rather than get a plane or train ticket.

    Looking forward to that information.

  •  Look at Mother Nature on the run, in the 1970's (0+ / 0-)

    I was lying in a burned out basement..

    Who knew? In 50 years we're all gonna get burned out. Unless someone does something.

    The dire straits facing America are not due poor people having too much money

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 10:57:58 PM PST

  •  Molotov Cocktails are flying in Belfast (0+ / 0-)

    Apparently, there's nothing better to do these days in Northern Ireland.

    The dire straits facing America are not due poor people having too much money

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 11:02:20 PM PST

  •  I'm delighted others are taking note... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    this just in, OLinda, JeffW

    of the disparate impact these so-called "tweaks" to our safety net would have on individual communities.

    I'm also not interesting in raising the eligibility age of any of these programs until I see vigorous, sustained prosecution of age discrimination which runs wild in 2012.

    •  I don't understand why raising the eligibility (0+ / 0-)

      age wouldn't be proposed as taking place from the opposite end of the age spectrum; that is, instead of affecting those just about to turn 65 and 66, why wouldn't eligibility raising target anyone who is 20 years out or so?  Anyone who is currently 45, for example--- from now on, people with those birthdates or later must work 'til 67, or something like that.  It's not clear to me why the eligibility isn't being discussed within this sort of framework.  Grandfathering in happens all the time in legislation and institutional procedure.  Why not in this instance?

      That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

      by concernedamerican on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:33:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Stop playing THEIR game by calling it an (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dogs are fuzzy, hulibow, JeffW

    entitlement.  It's insurance.  WE paid for it and it's not our fault the government loses money on it.  It's still insurance.

    GOP Wars against: Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Immigrants, Mexicans, Blacks, Gays, Women, Unions, Workers, Unemployed, Voters, Elderly, Kids, Poor, Sick, Disabled, Dying, Lovers, Kindness, Rationalism, Science, Sanity, Reality.

    by SGWM on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 11:40:20 PM PST

  •  NC-08 Richard Hudson (0+ / 0-)

    In January I'll have a Republican for a Congressman.
    I'm going to hve to learn how to write a decent e-mails to this man. I've heard he has been in the halls of Congress as a staffer for ever.

    I'm also wondering if any other kossack have gone from a Dem Congressman to a Republican.

  •  The age restriction makes the program (0+ / 0-)

    un-Constitutional, since illness and injury are not age-dependent. Separating populations by age and income is little more than a sop to segregationist sentiments -- sentiments which, in turn, merely satisfy an ideological commitment to hierarchy as a fundamental principle of society. Ranking humans in order to give some more or less authority over others is not natural. If humans are equal, admittedly an ideological commitment, but one that is enshrined in our organizing document, then hierarchy is in basic conflict. Insisting on it merely serves to undermine our democracy.
    Of course, we have a long history of not living up to our aspirations. But, that's what moving forward is about. If we are going to make progress, then irrelevant distinctions have to be removed. Medicare should be an option for all, especially now that all income earners are paying into it.
    Money, btw, is a social utility. People who use it incur some obligations for our communal certification that their IOUs are good.
    If some people get along with handshakes, more power to them. We won't expect them to pay in.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 02:44:12 AM PST

  •  I did in fact predict that the PPACA as written (0+ / 0-)

    was going to lead to the gradual privatization of Medicare before it even passed.

    Some folks are still around who remember that.

    We gave the bastards another several hundred billion a year to buy our politicians with.  

    It was like shipping crates of ammo to the enemy and saying "There, now we've beaten them because they'll be dependent on our ammo."

    They'll hike the age requirement to grow revenue for the private insurers.  Then they'll means test it to grow revenue for the insurers (a neat trick, because the wealthy are healthier at the same age).

    Medicare will, over the next 20 years, be phased down to a program for over 70's who have exhausted their ability to fill Humana's pockets anyway.

    And the people who fought like hell 4 years ago to make sure it happened - many of you knowing the long term outcome of the policies you were paid to switch your tune on at the critical juncture - will sob fat tears and offer deep sympathy to all the poor lil' oysters.

    This place needs a PVP server.

    by JesseCW on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 03:13:14 AM PST

  •  Now there is talk about (0+ / 0-)

    "Reforming" Medigap policies, presumably so they cover less. That's a bad idea, oo.

  •  Say what you want, but if Obama does that (0+ / 0-)

    it would be quite a walk-back and while I'm old enough to have decided that I'm done voting for the hypocrites of the Democratic Party, because it won't matter to me anymore == let the younger generation forge the future they want to have, if they have the intelligence and the will to do it,  and I doubt that they do, I'm really, really done with the Democratic Party.

    The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

    by helfenburg on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 03:47:01 AM PST

  •  It would destroy Medicaid (0+ / 0-)

    There would be tens of thousands of people who would delay needed tests and procedures for those two years. In the end it would inflate the cost of Medicare (because it's not the checkups but the cost of cancer or Alzheimer's care that breaks the system). My guess is that the Ryan-ites know that.

  •  Sorry Guys (0+ / 0-)

    But we have to sacrifice minorities in order to keep taxes low for the rich.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:18:04 AM PST

    •  I'd rather sacrifice the rich... (0+ / 0-)

      ...for the good of the country.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:20:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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