Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Of Course They Will

It was just one thought among many when I brought it up recently, discussing the teabaggR plan to privatize Medicare: why the hell would insurers want to take on the oldest, sickest, most expensive group of patients out there? And, if they did, what would keep them from raising rates precipitously or cutting coverage, or both, making the vouchers next to useless?

Now, others are raising the same point:

At first glance, Paul Ryan's plan to send millions of seniors into the free market with dwindling vouchers in hand might seem a boon to the private insurance industry. But would companies even want to participate?

Unlike the Affordable Care Act, which mandated that millions of young and healthy Americans purchase insurance with government subsidies, the Paul Ryan plan would instead bring the oldest, sickest, and least profitable demographic to the table. And with the CBO projecting that the average senior would be on the hook for over two-thirds of their health care costs within just 10 years of the plan's adoption -- a proportion that is projected to worsen in the long run --- the government subsidies backing them up may not bring in enough profitable customers to make things worthwhile.

Another points out:

If all of this is coming as a surprise, the problem runs deeper than politicians failing to be frank with the American people. The federal government has actively sought to silence providers’ warnings to their customers of these pending cuts. It was recently uncovered that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, placed a gag order on Medicare Advantage providers for sharing information with their enrollees about pending changes to their plans. Without regard for private health care plans’ right to inform their enrollees about consequential legislation, CMS has launched an investigation against Humana for mailing a factually verified warning about proposed cuts.

So why is it that this exact same problem won’t recur 11 years from now when according to Ryan’s plan we’re supposed to start seeing draconian cuts in payments to private Medicare insurers.

Hard to imagine, under the current circumstances wherein teabaggRs get all their info from the same dishonest sources, that such questions will ever be raised by any of them; nor even the thought occur to them. But since it's laid out quite clearly, I'd love to have one of my reliable negative commenters address it. And by address it I mean the actual point; as opposed to saying something useful like Democrats aren't happy unless babies are being killed, which is the usual sort of load that gets dropped on the bedspread around here in response to serious issues.

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