Monday, September 07, 2009

Evil government medical programs

Leonore and I went to Walgreens today to get (seasonal) flu shots. United Health Care, the insurance plan for which we pay an absurd amount each month, soon to become almost three times as absurd, didn’t cover Leonore’s shot. Our cost: $25. Medicare covered my shot. Our cost: $0.

In an earlier post, I told Barack that he coulda been a contendah. One way would have been to propose expanding Medicare to everyone, with some major upgrades to the system itself and to Medicare taxes. Too late now, of course.


Kayanna Kirby said...

Why Do you think it's too late? It hasn't been done yet. I think everything is still on the table.

TGirsch said...

Sadly, I don't think "Medicare-for-everyone" is politically viable. Its cost issues are too well publicized, and indeed, the administration has cited those skyrocketing costs as one of the prime drivers for reform. So if you say "this program is unsustainable, let's expand it," that just doesn't work.

The problem we have here is that we're trying to solve two separate (but tangentially related) problems at the same time: the problem of cost, and the problem of access. I (and most liberals) would rather have a program that tackles the latter problem without tackling the former problem, rather than the other way around (assuming you can only have one or the other).

A quick survey around the globe shows that single-payer (like Medicare) isn't the only way to achieve both goals, by the way. The Swiss or German models may be far easier to implement in the US.

David said...

It might have worked if Obama had started with some form single-payer universal healthcare proposal. The turds would have screamed, but they're screaming anyway. They'd have screamed and lied no matter what.

He should have used the high approval he had at the start of his presidency, and the enthusiasm and optimism of the moment.

But now he can't very well say on Wednesday night that he wants to up the ante that significantly. The best he can hope to do is use his rhetorical abilities to get some sort of public option pushed through.

TGirsch said...

All the signs seem to point to us getting a "triggered" public option. As long as the triggering mechanism is good and the resulting public option is strong enough, I think that will be good enough. (I'm skeptical of just how big a difference the public option as currently proposed would make anyway -- it's too narrowly constructed to make a huge difference).

David said...

Sigh, yeah. Especially if the public option wouldn't kick in till 2013, anyway.