Medicare buy-in: Single payer or not?

If the Medicare buy-in is the back door to single payer health care, why does the Physicians for a National Health Plan group oppose it?

 According to Steffie Woolhandler “Lowering the eligibility age for Medicare to 55 only works if it is mandatory. Otherwise it becomes the place where all the sickest patients get dumped. That might be okay for the sick people since Medicare is often better and more secure than private coverage, but it would drive total health care costs (and premiums) up, not down.”

 Gooz News argues for the plan.

Allowing the uninsured, the laid off and those with financially burdensome employer-provided plans to buy into Medicare at 55 will allow them to get good preventive care and intervention when it has the most potential to be  effective and to reduce Medicare’s long-term costs.

In the meantime HHS says current plans for reform won’t cut costs, contradicting CBO estimates:

A new report from government economic analysts at the Health and Human Services Department found that the nation’s $2.5 trillion annual health care tab won’t shrink under the Democratic blueprint that senators are debating. Instead, it would grow somewhat more rapidly than if Congress does nothing.

More troubling was the report’s assessment that the Democrats’ plan to squeeze Medicare for $493 billion over 10 years in savings relies on specific policy changes that ”may be unrealistic” and could lead to cuts in services. The Medicare savings are expected to cover about half the nearly $1 trillion, 10-year cost of expanding coverage to the uninsured.

Ouch.

 

Also Swine Flu is going away in Mass.

And, Health Wonk Review — the best of the health policy blogs — is up.

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