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Sources: Senators weigh 3 government health plans

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by WoodysGirl, May 8, 2009.

  1. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Shut up and play! Staff Member

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    By Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, Associated Press Writer – 4 mins ago

    WASHINGTON – Senators are considering three different designs for a new government health insurance plan that middle-income Americans could buy into for the first time, congressional officials said Friday. Officials familiar with the proposals said senators plan to debate them in a closed meeting next week. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the controversial plans have not been released.

    Creating a public plan is one of the most contentious ideas in the debate over how to overhaul the nation's health care system to cover the uninsured and try to restrain costs.

    President Barack Obama and many Democrats say a government option would serve as a check to keep the private insurance industry honest.

    Insurers fear the government would use its power to drive them out of business. And Republicans call a public plan in the legislation a dealbreaker, dashing hopes for bipartisan legislation for overhauling the health insurance system. Employer groups are also opposed.

    The three approaches being discussed are:

    _Create a plan that resembles Medicare, administered by the Health and Human Services department.

    _Adopt a Medicare-like plan, but pick an outside party to run it. That way government officials would not directly control the day-to-day operations.

    _Leave it up to individual states to set up a public insurance plan for their residents.

    But many key details would still have to be fleshed out.

    Among them is whether the public plan would be open to everyone, or be limited to small businesses and individuals purchasing coverage on their own.

    Also, would the plan reimburse medical providers at discounted Medicare rates or the higher fees that private insurers pay? And would it be financed by tax dollars, or entirely from premiums?

    Senators on the Finance Committee will consider the proposals during a closed-door session scheduled for late next week. Committee leaders want to bring a bill to the Senate floor this summer. It's unclear whether a public plan in any form will emerge from Congress.

    Citing surveys that show most seniors are happy with Medicare, Democrats say they believe that a public plan would be a political winner. But Republicans counter that it would be a step toward a government-run system in which medical services sooner or later would be rationed.

    The majority of Americans now get health insurance through private insurers, about 170 million people in all. Most of them are enrolled in employer-sponsored plans.

    A recent report by the Lewin Group, a numbers-crunching firm that serves government and private clients, found that a new government plan could radically alter that landscape — or maybe not.

    It depends on the design.

    If the public plan were open to all employers and individuals — and if it paid doctors and hospitals the same as Medicare — it would quickly grow to 131 million members, while enrollment in private insurance plans would plummet, the study found.

    By paying Medicare rates the government plan would be able to set premiums well below what private plans charge. Employers and individuals would rush to sign up.

    But the results would be far different if the government plan was limited to small employers, individuals and the self-employed.

    In that smaller-scale scenario, the public plan would get from 17 million to 43 million members, the study said. It found that a government plan could be effective in reducing number of uninsured.

    Lewin is a subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest health insurer. The consulting firm says it makes its own judgments, however. Its work is used by groups on all sides of the health care debate, including supporters of a public plan.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090508/ap_on_go_co/us_health_overhaul_public_plan
  2. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    My best guess at the mode we'll see pursued: Adopt a Medicare-like plan, but pick an outside party to run it. That way government officials would not directly control the day-to-day operations.

    Lewin is a subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest health insurer. The consulting firm says it makes its own judgments, however. Its work is used by groups on all sides of the health care debate, including supporters of a public plan.



    LOL @ United Heathcare subsidiaries...Evercare was a disaster here in N Tx as coordinator of care outfit, contract provider. Now they were trying to implement a new model of care, and its targets may have been unrealistic, but dang, I hope they aren't involved in Zerocare in any capacity.
  3. jrumann59

    jrumann59 Well-Known Member

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    Now they say pay into, does that mean it is voluntary or they will tax Americans into.
  4. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    Not sure I follow your question but this is all speculative at this point anyway because no plan has been officially rolled out. Fwiw, it's unlikely there will initially be a direct tax that you are speaking of...that will come later as costs spiral out of control. First, we will see an attempt to cost-shift and leverage various efficiencies of HC delivery(letting old folks just die sooner, for example. Like that one?), and rationing- no matter what anyone says to the contrary- we'll see it. These tactics will not work to control costs and provide the kind of care ppl will demand, that they're accustomed to receiving. Don't forget that additionally we'll be insuring a batch of ~12-20 mill(who knows?) new folks fr down south, the newly documented ones, if you will.

    That's just me talking, though.
  5. jrumann59

    jrumann59 Well-Known Member

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    I hear you. Trust me I am not for national health care, especially after my weekend with the DMV and a "computer" error suspended the registration to all my vehicles.
  6. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    I would like to know the segment of Seniors who are "happy with Medicare".

    Doesn't really matter. This is a bad idea. I just can't understand how people believe that we can afford to provide free health care for an increasing population who's life expectancy is longer with every year.

    Add this to the Presidents ideas to extend unemployment to those who are going to school and all of a sudden, the burden of this becomes herculean. Folks, the numbers are simply not there to do this. I challenge anybody to figure out how this will all be paid for. I'm certain that the Administration will say it's through increased taxation on the upper 5% of wage earners and that 95% will see no measured increase in taxes but does anybody honestly believe that to be true? Do the math. This can not work.
  7. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    We will just use our Chinese Visa card to pay for it on credit. We borrow .50 for every dollar spent now. Why not .75 or .80? Who cares, it is all just meaningless numbers. As long as Obama numbers are above 60% approval he can do whatever he feels like.;)
  8. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    And print money. Just roll them presses...
  9. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    Well, it's alot better than the alternative. How is else are they going to pay for tens or hundreds of thsousands of dollars of hc servcies? Pvt ins caps out very quickly. Only Medicare benifitis cover the astronomical hc costs incurred in the hospital and outpt services, etc.... And Obama's focus will not be on continuing this expenditure during this population's last yrs, but to shift empahsis(resources) away from them via a few strategies. He's even upfront about if you've listened to his speeches. The truth is that it costs much too much to keep them alive. Fully 1/3 of the Medicare budget is consumed by the elderly's last few yrs of life. Obama's plan will aim to cut costs in part by a "preventive care" model. The idea is to keep ppl healthy as long as possible and shrinking the timefranme of their suffering, and those costs incurred. Nobody knows if this works, although I admit it sounds good in theory. Compression of morbidity is the buzzphrase. Mostly, though, heroic measures to care for them will not employed to extend their lives. He and his former hand-picked HHS/HC gru, Daschle(oops) have hinted at this in the past.
  10. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    I guess you're right. I guess I don't understand. In a nut shell, the President ran on providing health care for all Americans. He ran on the Senior's vote, based on promises that they should receive better, more effective, cheaper health care. I get that our Grandparents, our Mothers and Fathers are living too long. I get that they are the ones being thrown under the bus. I'm saying that if your going to throw them under the bus, at least be honest about it up front. Once this decision is made, we have this BS health care plan for the duration. We can't afford to go back and change it. It's not like the Seniors who voted for the President will have an opportunity to correct the situation in 4 years time. It's done.

    Of course, this still does not answer the original question asked. How does this get paid for? Throw the Seniors under the bus, OK, but that still does not pay for what it will cost to get this done.
  11. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    Where Obama's teleprompter told him money comes from....

    [IMG]
  12. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    See the post above. The money tree is a good a guess as anything rt now.
  13. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    [IMG]

    I love it when a plan comes together!

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