Trump’s Plan to Save Medicare by Destroying It

I mentioned yesterday that Trump announced a plan to expand Medicare Advantage plans, which I found suspicious. Michael Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times explains what I suspected — Trump is trying to privatize Medicare.

The main point is that despite his claim to be the protector of Medicare, he’s merely associating himself with Republican proposals that have been aimed at disemboweling the program for years. …

… The victims will be the 60 million seniors who depend on Medicare for their healthcare. Their costs would go up, and their access to benefits shrink.

Step one is to raise reimbursements paid for medical care to be in line with what is paid in the private health insurance market. Yeah, you read that right. “Put another way, if your intention is to bankrupt Medicare, you can hardly find a better way to do so than this,” Hiltzik writes.

Step two is to promote Medicare Advantage plans, which are administered by private companies, over regular Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans are able to offer “extra” goodies like vision benefits and health club memberships, with the trade-off that they limit customers to small networks.

Trump’s executive order provides only broad outlines; it will take a while to work out details. And I don’t believe Trump can make big structural changes to the program without a vote in Congress, so I suspect nothing will happen before the 2020 election.  This is basically about Trump getting something to run on that makes it seem he is doing something about health care. But this needs to be closely watched — and fought against.

11 thoughts on “Trump’s Plan to Save Medicare by Destroying It

  1. I think this is a proposal McConnell has… I was going to use a metaphor the twit filter would choke on… a great interest in passing this. If Trump survives to a second term, Trump would sign it to return the favor of the Senate "clearing" trim in the impeachment. Depending on how long this has been in the works, Trump may be signaling Mitch to hold firm by dangling what Mitch lusts after.

    Everything for Trump is about surviving the election and using the power of the presidency as a shield and a sword.

  2. This FECKIN' CREATURE has no positive human, humane, or empathetic attributes!

    Plus, he's a bigoted feckin' eedjit! !!

    If all of the rest of us weren't affected, and only his MAGAts were, I'd say, "Go for it!!!!!!"

    Unfortunately, the rest of us are also riding along in this whirlpool, as our country swirls down through the toilet, down into the sewer.

    KILL THE RICH!

    Eat the rich!

    But cook them a long, long time.  Those rich vermin have a lot of other little vermin!!!!!

  3. One thing that makes Medicare Advantage (private insurance) even more insidious is that when someone discovers just how screwed they are by having signed up for it and decide to change, it also costs them more for Medicare.  My wife, against my advice, signed up for an Advantage program that cost more than my Medicare does now, and gave her less coverage.  When I finally got Medicare (I'm younger) she realized just how bad her deal was and wanted to change.  That triggered a "penalty" that exists within Medicare if you sign up later than at 65 for Medicare your monthly Medicare premium (yes, people pay for Medicare every month but it's cheap) goes up significantly.  She now pays about 80% more every month than I do.

    Medicare Advantage is a bad deal all around.

  4. OT, “You talkin’ to me?”

    …An unstable president has lurched under the pressure of an impeachment inquiry into a form of madness that is either a very public suicide or some weird genius for survival. Trump is Robert De Niro, armed with a gun, in “Taxi Driver” gazing into the mirror repeating: “You talkin’ to me?”

  5. Seniors are the voters who should be opposed to Trump and the GOP, and yet the are, by and large, reliable voters for them, out of either ignorance of what their real intent is, as evidence in this Medicare Advantage scheme, or, their willing to sacrifice everything for the bigotry and hatred Trump serves up.

    What'll happen though, is Trump and the GOP will screw them, a democrat will be elected, and they'll suddenly "wake up" and blame the democrats.

  6. Anybody notice how fat trump has gotten in the past year?  I would say he has put on an easy 50 pounds.  I guess that makes him an even bigger bag of sh_t, eh, Swami.

    • It's easy to put on weight when you're old (slower metabolism} get no exercise, sit up in bed watching TV and eat cheeseburgers.  Of course, that makes one at greater risk for a heart attack.  On the other hand, I have noticed old people either gain weight or get real skinny.  Although Swami  does have a point.  Maybe he is just really really constipated.

  7. There's an overarching philosophy that Medicare Advantage illustrates. There are people in government and on the edges of government who believe it's immoral for any economic activity NOT to deliver profits to some private individual. 

    Attempts to privatize the US Post Office are ongoing. Some private corporation will magically make the Postal Service more efficient, lower postal prices AND earn a healthy profit. (The USPS is incredibly efficient when measured against any postal service in the WORLD.) The ONLY way profits can be extracted from the postal system without raising prices is by slashing pay and benefits for employees. 

    Education should be privatized – charter schools cherry-pick the best students with no special needs and want to "test" their school against the public system with no adjustment for the disparity. Private profit with public dollars.

    There was a move to privatize the administrative functions of the FAA. As an occasional air traveler, the idea that they will lower pay and reduce standards in the control tower to create profits makes me shudder.

    Turning the natural resources of public parks over to private logging and mining is in the works now. They want to open the arctic to underwater drilling in an environment where capping a disaster like the Deepwater Horizon would be impossible.

    This we all know and dread but the common objective of handicapping government to regulate and empowering private companies to raid the public treasury is only possible because we've allowed big money in government. Solve that one thing and all the other stuff becomes manageable. 

  8. After decades of unsuccessful frontal assaults, Republicans have realized they have to be sneaky. I'd add to Tom's anecdote about Medicare Advantage that my mother in law signed up to get relief from prescription drug costs. In the end the network she had to join delayed diagnosing and treating her cancer with possibly fatal results.

    G. W. Bush's Medicare Part D, which neither my wife or I have been able to make work for us, has also had mixed results.

    The simple facts are America pays twice as much for health care as any other country with outcomes that are only about 11th best. Republicans are doing the policy equivalent of political smoke blowing to create confusion.

  9. Nature supersedes all teachers, gurus, prophets or the like.  Today I saw a mushroom, which is a fungus, that erupted all alone overnight.  This is the way of the mushroom.  Some I have photographed do not last a day.  The spore in the ground that erupted into this mushroom may have been in that soil for years.  This one caught my eye like no other.  It as only about two inches high and the cap only about an inch or so in circumference,.  On looking at the cap I noticed it was completely covered with flies.  I do not think one more fly would have been able to land on it as all the surface area was full.  

    The flies, I assume, must be conned by this mushroom.  It must fool them into thinking it has value, I would guess to nurture their eggs.  No hope.  A fungus is non nurturant.  Zero calories.  The flies get nothing and the mushroom probably gets a spore spreader.  I don't know the name of the mushroom, but I have called it the Trump mushroom.  It attracts flies and fools them.  Evolution has make it smell probably like a pile of shit or rotting meat.  Flies cannot resist it.  They get used and the mushroom propagates and spread.  

    The Trump mushroom has no intent to harm or destroy the flies.  It just has an aberration that other mushrooms do not have.  The mushroom has no brain at all, and the fly has but a really tiny one with much to control.  That brainless mushroom is able to con that fly though. That "ability" a product of evolution and natural selection.  One cannot blame the mushroom for conning the fly.

      One can blame politicians, companies, and salesmen  who prey on the elderly and should know fair well what they are doing.  Those who do this do so with malice.  Their inferior breeding, training, or both is parasitic.  They would con a senior just so they could flaunt more excessive wealth and wallow in more decadance.  I would say shame, but they seem to have all the brains, conscience, and superego of that mushroom.  They do have one attribute in common with the mushroom.  An aura that attracts and exploits.  

     

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