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Corker plan to privatize Medicare

Sen. Bob Corker is making the rounds to promote his "dollar for dollar" entitlement reform bill. Corker proposes to raise the debt ceiling by $1 trillion in exchange for $1 trillion in cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. (Actually, it's $937 billion, but who's counting?)

His plan for Medicare is to replace Medicare Part A, Part B and Part C Medicare Advantage programs with a voluntary "Total Health" private insurance policy. Medicare Part A and B would remain an option, and the Total Health plan would be "voluntary" except it appears that seniors who do not choose between standard Medicare and "Total Health" during the benefit enrollment period would be automatically assigned to a regional private insurance plan.

Corker's plan would also increase the eligibility age and impose means testing to adjust premiums* according to income, with higher income enrollees paying as much as twice the standard premium.

Regarding Medicaid, Corker's proposal would allow states to opt out of Medicaid altogether.

Summary of Corker's Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security proposals

Proposed legislation

(*Part B and D already have similar provisions.)

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Maybe a policy expert can

Maybe a policy expert can explain how "Total Health" is different from the existing Medicare Advantage?

Also, from Kaiser Health:

www.kff.org/medicare/upload/2052-16.pdf

Over the past decades, Medicare payment policy for plans has shifted from one that produced savings to one that focused more on expanding access to private plans and providing extra benefits to Medicare private plan enrollees. These policy changes resulted in Medicare paying private plans more per enrollee than the cost of care for beneficiaries in traditional Medicare, on average (MedPAC 2010). The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 produced another shift in payment policy by reducing federal payments to Medicare Advantage plans over time, bringing them closer to the average costs of care under the traditional Medicare program. It also provided for new bonus payments to plans based on quality ratings, beginning in 2012, and required plans beginning in 2014 to maintain a medical loss ratio of at least 85%, restricting the share of premiums that Medicare Advantage plans can use for administrative expenses and profits.

(Emphasis added.)

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Go Down Moses

NPR interviewed a freshman Republican Congressman from Illinois this morning who said one of the best things to get America back on its feet again would be to invest in rebuilding infrastructure, just as Mr. Obama has tried to do.

Then it hit me, Corker knows what Obama is doing wrong. He could issue all us old folks picks and shovels and put our wrinkled old butts out on road gangs to earn that vast wealth we're siphoning off Social Security and Medicare.

In one of Pat Paulsen's many runs for president, he once said the last candidate who ran against him (and won) had promised to 'take care of all the old folks'. Now here we were four years later and he had broken that promise. We had more old folks than we ever had.

Corker's plan could solve that problem.

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Funny. Ya gotta love Pat

Funny. Ya gotta love Pat Paulsen.

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That's rich, coming from a

That's rich, coming from a guy who will never need Medicare, and probably doesn't know anybody who will.

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The shame is that our

The shame is that our neighbors elected this clown. I am interested in exactly who it is writing this stuff and briefing Corker on it. It's pretty evident he's not exactly an intellectual heavyweight nor a policy wonk. :-)

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