Tag: medicare

  • Keeping an Eye on Medicare for All

    August 12, 2019

    Tags:

    Polls are preventing some dissenting voices from voicing dissent, and the views of those rising to the top are being heard more often.  Currently in favor of Medicare for All and the resultant abolition of private health insurance:  Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

    One interesting question:  who would administer the claims for the government under these proposals? After all, carriers pay the Medicare claims for the government now.

  • Tech Wreck Puts Brokers on Deck

    June 26, 2019

    Tags: ,

     

    Clover Health, which is backed by Alphabet (Google), is a major play for the Medicare Advantage market, but the company just laid off 140 tech employees in favor of beginning to hire those with a background in health insurance and clinical care.

  • Meanwhile, Insurance Carriers are Nervous but Investors are Elated with Inflated Hopes

    June 10, 2019

    Tags: ,

     

    At a time when some would rather be out of the business under the onslaught of Medicare for All proponent, venture funding for insurance and insurtech companies hit all-time highs in 2018.  In 2014, funding was roughly $800 million.  In 2018, funding was up to $2.5 billion.  The leaders on the health insurance front are Oscar and Bright Health.

    The “insurtech” play, while not related to health insurance, is also interesting and worth noting.  Wefox Group is in the digital insurance market, Root Insurance will have auto insurance rates based on driver testing and Metromile will charge premiums based on miles driven.

  • Running Up the Middle – Let’s Keep the Affordable Care Act

    June 5, 2019

    Tags: ,

     

    Well remembered for urging the House to “pass the bill so we can see what’s in it,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has urged caution on Medicare for All, believing that the Affordable Care Act is still the best path to ‘quality, affordable care’  She clarified in an interview that Medicare for All, for most people, simply means “coverage for all” which then does not necessitate using a single payer system as advocated by Bernie Sanders.

    President Trump, meanwhile, got support to drop the ACA when a District Court judge in Northern Texas said that ACA was unconstitutional.  There is an appeal filed from a group of Attorneys General protesting this move.  The administration continues to side with the court, with the Justice Department writing it had “determined that the district court’s judgment should be affirmed” and will file a brief. This in spite of the opposition of HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Attorney General William Barr.

  • What’s the Plan? Republicans Respond to Medicare for All but Stall

    June 3, 2019

    Tags: , ,

    Republicans have a counter, though no one yet knows what it is.  President Trump has promised…to show what it is after the 2020 elections.  He has endorsed some proposals already, which may be included in his more comprehensive plan.  One (Graham-Cassidy) shows the elimination of the ACA Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies, with the money being reallocated to the states, who would also be able to override some ACA benefit standards.  The 2020 White House budget points to this by creating block grants to the states for a similar purpose.  Conservatives also have a plan, which follows a similar path.  In short, everyone is against having the Federal government run it – they are all passing to the states.

    Of course, Trump really does need a plan, given that his 2020 budget calls for a cut of more than $845 billion in Medicare, purportedly to “cut waste, fraud and abuse.”  The OMB director said “he’s not cutting Medicare in this budget” so…so how can we have Medicare for all when Medicare itself is always under attack?

    The general grouping of proposals are:

    • Passing block grants and funding to the states
    • Adding public plan features to private insurance
    • Giving people a choice of public plans alongside private plans (e.g. Medicare for those age 50 to 64 while still being able to buy private insurance instead)

  • Medicare for All: a Free for All Among Politicians and Insurers are Worried

    May 30, 2019

    Tags: ,

     

    It’s not just Bernie Sanders’ vision any more.  Even more centrist Democrats have taken the pledge, with Senators Harris, Gillibrand and Booker having cosigned Sanders’ bill.  The basics? Health insurance would now no longer be paid directly by employers, but indirectly through a 7.5% payroll tax and a contribution by employees of 4%.  Medicare and Medicaid would be eliminated and everyone would be covered.  Insurance companies would still exist, but only to sell supplemental or ancillary plans; they may not compete directly with the government plan.  Insurers are, of course, worried and publicly pledging to come up with a way to build upon the existing system.

    As if the bill for expanded coverage is not large enough, the Medicare for All proposal has been expanded further to include Long Term Care.  This provision, which had been part of the initial Affordable Care Act, was abandoned almost as soon as it began once lawmakers saw the potential size of that coverage bill.

    Things recently got more interesting when Seema Verma, the director of CMS (which runs Medicare) went on Fox News and said “Medicare for all is the biggest threat to the American health care system.”  She noted that socialized health care systems in other countries have problems of their own, including long wait times and poor care, which leads citizens to travel to the U.S. for drugs and care they can’t secure at home.  More to the point, she said “the reality is we’re having problems today paying for the Medicare program and the trustees have warned about solvency, so adding more people to the program is only going to exacerbate it.”

    Arguments pro and con – why and why not:

                Pro      Advocates say the change is simple – money spent on private health insurance and health care would be shifted to the federal government in the form of taxation

                            The federal government would set prices and force health care providers to accept current Medicare payment rates, which is roughly 40% below what private insurers pay

                            The government run system would mean everyone would be insured and people would access health care services more frequently because they would be free (maybe copayments would be required, though this has not yet been decided)

                Con     “Trust US” – 70% say they are satisfied with their coverage, but all 181 million Americans now covered by employers would have to make a move to a program that is unexplained, unproven and about which the results are unsure

                            There are those who are not crazy about centralized big government in any aspect of our lives – and then, of course, there are the additional taxes

                            No matter how they slice it, hospitals, physicians and affiliated providers are going to take a big pay cut, and there won’t be much room for negotiation when the government is the only game in town (think Walmart)

                            Patients will have to make a shift in expectations – seen the waiting list and lines in Canada lately?

                            The Sanders plan would increase federal spending by about $32 trillion over its first ten years, or $3 trillion per year.  The Congressional Budget Office projects federal spending for the entire 2019 fiscal year at $4.4 trillion

  • Democrat Proposals for 2020: Medicare for All…and Other Proposals that Lean Left and Lefter

    May 28, 2019

    Tags:

     

    Medicare for All:  Bernie Sanders has introduced the plan in the Senate, and it is supported by Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, who have all sponsored these bills, along with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in the House.  Mayor Pete Buttigieg is also on record as being in favor of such a system.  The proposed plan would eliminate private insurance and transform Medicare into a single-payer system run entirely by the federal government.  Opponents, even within the Democratic Party, are wary, however, of banning health insurers from selling anything, as well as the total price tag.  The general estimate is a whopping $32 trillion.

    Medicare for America:  Supported by Beto O’Rourke and possibly Kirsten Gillibrand.  This aims for universal coverage while giving workers the option of keeping their employer-sponsored plan or switching to a new and expanded version of Medicare.  The proposal rolls in anyone now on Medicare, Medicaid, ObamaCare-subsidized plans and the Childrens’ Health Insurance Program.  Plans offered by employers would have to match standards set under the proposed new program.

    Medicare X Choice Act:  Sponsored by Senators Michael Bennet and Tim Kaine and in the House by Antoniuo Delgado, John Larson and Brian Higgins.  Among candidates, the plan is also supported by Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. The proposed plan leaves in the existing system and creates a public option (this was proposed during the debate over the Affordable Care Act and ultimately rejected).  The proposal, if approved, would also expand tax credits for purchase.

    Medicare at 50 Act:  Supported by Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand.  The proposal essentially allows U.S. citizens between the ages of 50 and 64 to buy a Medicare plan, and can use Obamacare subsidies to do so.

  • Despite state support, Medicare for all isn’t playing nationally

    February 26, 2019

    Tags:

    The seven California Democrats who flipped Republican seats in the midterms campaigned for more government funded health care, are facing roadblocks.  They were greeted by a statement from the senior California statesperson, “We need to do the things that are doable – that aren’t pie in the sky” said Senator Dianne Feinstein.  She got pushback from the junior Senator Kamala Harris, who supports Medicare for all, calling it “the moral and ethical thing to do.”

  • Keeping an Eye on Medicare for All

    August 12, 2019

    Tags:

    Polls are preventing some dissenting voices from voicing dissent, and the views of those rising to the top are being heard more often.  Currently in favor of Medicare for All and the resultant abolition of private health insurance:  Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

    One interesting question:  who would administer the claims for the government under these proposals? After all, carriers pay the Medicare claims for the government now.

  • Tech Wreck Puts Brokers on Deck

    June 26, 2019

    Tags: ,

     

    Clover Health, which is backed by Alphabet (Google), is a major play for the Medicare Advantage market, but the company just laid off 140 tech employees in favor of beginning to hire those with a background in health insurance and clinical care.

  • Meanwhile, Insurance Carriers are Nervous but Investors are Elated with Inflated Hopes

    June 10, 2019

    Tags: ,

     

    At a time when some would rather be out of the business under the onslaught of Medicare for All proponent, venture funding for insurance and insurtech companies hit all-time highs in 2018.  In 2014, funding was roughly $800 million.  In 2018, funding was up to $2.5 billion.  The leaders on the health insurance front are Oscar and Bright Health.

    The “insurtech” play, while not related to health insurance, is also interesting and worth noting.  Wefox Group is in the digital insurance market, Root Insurance will have auto insurance rates based on driver testing and Metromile will charge premiums based on miles driven.

  • Running Up the Middle – Let’s Keep the Affordable Care Act

    June 5, 2019

    Tags: ,

     

    Well remembered for urging the House to “pass the bill so we can see what’s in it,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has urged caution on Medicare for All, believing that the Affordable Care Act is still the best path to ‘quality, affordable care’  She clarified in an interview that Medicare for All, for most people, simply means “coverage for all” which then does not necessitate using a single payer system as advocated by Bernie Sanders.

    President Trump, meanwhile, got support to drop the ACA when a District Court judge in Northern Texas said that ACA was unconstitutional.  There is an appeal filed from a group of Attorneys General protesting this move.  The administration continues to side with the court, with the Justice Department writing it had “determined that the district court’s judgment should be affirmed” and will file a brief. This in spite of the opposition of HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Attorney General William Barr.

  • What’s the Plan? Republicans Respond to Medicare for All but Stall

    June 3, 2019

    Tags: , ,

    Republicans have a counter, though no one yet knows what it is.  President Trump has promised…to show what it is after the 2020 elections.  He has endorsed some proposals already, which may be included in his more comprehensive plan.  One (Graham-Cassidy) shows the elimination of the ACA Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies, with the money being reallocated to the states, who would also be able to override some ACA benefit standards.  The 2020 White House budget points to this by creating block grants to the states for a similar purpose.  Conservatives also have a plan, which follows a similar path.  In short, everyone is against having the Federal government run it – they are all passing to the states.

    Of course, Trump really does need a plan, given that his 2020 budget calls for a cut of more than $845 billion in Medicare, purportedly to “cut waste, fraud and abuse.”  The OMB director said “he’s not cutting Medicare in this budget” so…so how can we have Medicare for all when Medicare itself is always under attack?

    The general grouping of proposals are:

    • Passing block grants and funding to the states
    • Adding public plan features to private insurance
    • Giving people a choice of public plans alongside private plans (e.g. Medicare for those age 50 to 64 while still being able to buy private insurance instead)

  • Medicare for All: a Free for All Among Politicians and Insurers are Worried

    May 30, 2019

    Tags: ,

     

    It’s not just Bernie Sanders’ vision any more.  Even more centrist Democrats have taken the pledge, with Senators Harris, Gillibrand and Booker having cosigned Sanders’ bill.  The basics? Health insurance would now no longer be paid directly by employers, but indirectly through a 7.5% payroll tax and a contribution by employees of 4%.  Medicare and Medicaid would be eliminated and everyone would be covered.  Insurance companies would still exist, but only to sell supplemental or ancillary plans; they may not compete directly with the government plan.  Insurers are, of course, worried and publicly pledging to come up with a way to build upon the existing system.

    As if the bill for expanded coverage is not large enough, the Medicare for All proposal has been expanded further to include Long Term Care.  This provision, which had been part of the initial Affordable Care Act, was abandoned almost as soon as it began once lawmakers saw the potential size of that coverage bill.

    Things recently got more interesting when Seema Verma, the director of CMS (which runs Medicare) went on Fox News and said “Medicare for all is the biggest threat to the American health care system.”  She noted that socialized health care systems in other countries have problems of their own, including long wait times and poor care, which leads citizens to travel to the U.S. for drugs and care they can’t secure at home.  More to the point, she said “the reality is we’re having problems today paying for the Medicare program and the trustees have warned about solvency, so adding more people to the program is only going to exacerbate it.”

    Arguments pro and con – why and why not:

                Pro      Advocates say the change is simple – money spent on private health insurance and health care would be shifted to the federal government in the form of taxation

                            The federal government would set prices and force health care providers to accept current Medicare payment rates, which is roughly 40% below what private insurers pay

                            The government run system would mean everyone would be insured and people would access health care services more frequently because they would be free (maybe copayments would be required, though this has not yet been decided)

                Con     “Trust US” – 70% say they are satisfied with their coverage, but all 181 million Americans now covered by employers would have to make a move to a program that is unexplained, unproven and about which the results are unsure

                            There are those who are not crazy about centralized big government in any aspect of our lives – and then, of course, there are the additional taxes

                            No matter how they slice it, hospitals, physicians and affiliated providers are going to take a big pay cut, and there won’t be much room for negotiation when the government is the only game in town (think Walmart)

                            Patients will have to make a shift in expectations – seen the waiting list and lines in Canada lately?

                            The Sanders plan would increase federal spending by about $32 trillion over its first ten years, or $3 trillion per year.  The Congressional Budget Office projects federal spending for the entire 2019 fiscal year at $4.4 trillion

  • Democrat Proposals for 2020: Medicare for All…and Other Proposals that Lean Left and Lefter

    May 28, 2019

    Tags:

     

    Medicare for All:  Bernie Sanders has introduced the plan in the Senate, and it is supported by Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, who have all sponsored these bills, along with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in the House.  Mayor Pete Buttigieg is also on record as being in favor of such a system.  The proposed plan would eliminate private insurance and transform Medicare into a single-payer system run entirely by the federal government.  Opponents, even within the Democratic Party, are wary, however, of banning health insurers from selling anything, as well as the total price tag.  The general estimate is a whopping $32 trillion.

    Medicare for America:  Supported by Beto O’Rourke and possibly Kirsten Gillibrand.  This aims for universal coverage while giving workers the option of keeping their employer-sponsored plan or switching to a new and expanded version of Medicare.  The proposal rolls in anyone now on Medicare, Medicaid, ObamaCare-subsidized plans and the Childrens’ Health Insurance Program.  Plans offered by employers would have to match standards set under the proposed new program.

    Medicare X Choice Act:  Sponsored by Senators Michael Bennet and Tim Kaine and in the House by Antoniuo Delgado, John Larson and Brian Higgins.  Among candidates, the plan is also supported by Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. The proposed plan leaves in the existing system and creates a public option (this was proposed during the debate over the Affordable Care Act and ultimately rejected).  The proposal, if approved, would also expand tax credits for purchase.

    Medicare at 50 Act:  Supported by Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand.  The proposal essentially allows U.S. citizens between the ages of 50 and 64 to buy a Medicare plan, and can use Obamacare subsidies to do so.

  • Despite state support, Medicare for all isn’t playing nationally

    February 26, 2019

    Tags:

    The seven California Democrats who flipped Republican seats in the midterms campaigned for more government funded health care, are facing roadblocks.  They were greeted by a statement from the senior California statesperson, “We need to do the things that are doable – that aren’t pie in the sky” said Senator Dianne Feinstein.  She got pushback from the junior Senator Kamala Harris, who supports Medicare for all, calling it “the moral and ethical thing to do.”

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