By Roz Rogoff
Obamacare or Medicare?Uploaded: Feb 12, 2014
Now that Tim Hunt and Tom Cushing have weighed in on the pros and cons of Obamacare, I want to take my shot at it.
I confess I'm a registered Republican. However, I consider myself a Pragmatist first. I lean towards whatever makes sense and works. In my opinion Obamacare doesn't, but at least I understand the rationale for it.
I have been in favor of a single payer medical plan for at least five years now. That's because I'm on one and I like it. Yes, it is Medicare. Ask almost anyone 65 or older if they prefer Obamacare to Medicare? I'm sure (no research here), most would say they want to keep their Medicare.
I have two big concerns about Medicare ? continued funding as the population ages and finding Doctors willing to accept the lower payments. There are solutions for both of these.
Private insurance is available for the difference between what Medicare pays and what Doctors and other services charge. It's called Medigap insurance. I buy Medigap insurance from Humana now, which I like better than the AARP policy mentioned in my 2009 blog.
The other problem is that the aging population on Medicare requires ever-increasing medical coverage, which could be offset by adding all those younger people who don't need as much medical care. That's the purpose of requiring everyone to buy medical insurance under Obamacare, to spread the costs around.
That's the way insurance works. Those who don't use it pay for those who do. I paid for auto insurance for 50 years and never used it, but when I needed it after my accident last year (which was not my fault) I was glad I had it.
That's why Obamacare forces everyone to buy medical insurance, but this isn't something that can be forced on people. The Federal mandate, "Thou shalt buy medical insurance or else," leaves the "or else," which is to pay the fine, as a viable option for many Obamacare opponents.
Clearly I don't like Obamacare and I don't believe it will work to solve our accelerating medical costs. Obama tried to use a Republican plan to appeal to Republicans in Congress but they wouldn't cooperate. So he had to push this plan down Democrats' throats to get it passed. Why do you think it was so difficult to get Obamacare passed when he had a majority of Democrats in the Congress at that time?
Rather than forcing the Democrat majority in Congress to vote for a plan most of them didn't like, Obama had a perfect opportunity to expanded Medicare for all. This would have saved Medicare for everyone 65 and up like me and extended coverage to everyone under 65.
No one would have to go out of his or her way to sign up for Medicare either. Medicare is tied to your Social Security number; so anyone from age 1 and up could be put onto Medicare almost immediately with no need for state-run Insurance Exchanges.
Medicare isn't free. About $105 is deducted from my Social Security each month as my Medicare premium. Combine that with $49 for Humana and $22 for my dental coverage, my total "premium" costs me $176 a month for excellent local and regional care. Medicaid would be available, like now, for people who cannot afford even this small monthly expense.
There's already a payroll tax deduction for Medicare. If everyone was on Medicare, the payroll tax could be increased to an amount similar to what is deducted from my monthly Social Security. Medigap and Supplemental plans are helpful but are not required. Employers who already offer health insurance as a benefit could save a bundle by offering the Supplemental insurance instead of the higher cost plans they have to under Obamacare.
For the poster who asked if Kaiser is available under Obamacare, I don't know. But I do know Kaiser is available as a Supplemental plan with Medicare. I'm happy with Humana and don't want to change my Doctor or Dentist and start over again with Kaiser, but if you've got it you could keep it under Medicare and that's no lie.
I can see no downside to Medicare for all. The only complaint, and there's always someone who will complain, is it is the dreaded "Socialist Medicine." Oh GROW UP!