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WSJ: Reid's Medicare Buy-In 'Worse Than the Public Option'

9:20 AM, Dec 11, 2009 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Yesterday the Washington Post editorialized that "The irony of this late-breaking Medicare proposal is that it could be a bigger step toward a single-payer system than the milquetoast public option plans rejected by Senate moderates as too disruptive of the private market." Today, the Wall Street Journal calls this monstrosity of a "compromise" worse than the public option:

It's hard to imagine a better illustration of the panic and recklessness stringing ObamaCare along in the Senate than the putative deal that Harry Reid announced this week. The Majority Leader is claiming that a Medicare "buy-in" for people from ages 55 to 64 has overcome the liberal-moderate impasse over the "public option." But if anything, this gambit is an even faster road to government-run health care.

The public option-an insurance program open to everyone, financed by taxpayers and run like Medicare-is intended as a veiled substitute for "single-payer" Canada-style insurance. Under the cover of "choice" and "competition," the entitlement would quickly squeeze out private insurance as people gravitated to "free" coverage and the government held down costs via price controls the way Medicare does now.

Mr. Reid's buy-in simply cuts out the middle man. Why go to the trouble of creating a new plan like Medicare when Medicare itself is already handy? A buy-in is an old chestnut of single-payer advocate Pete Stark, and it's the political strategy liberals have tried since the Great Society: Ratchet down the enrollment age for Medicare, boost the income limits to qualify for Medicaid, and soon health care for the entire middle class becomes a taxpayer commitment.

Read the whole thing.

And be sure to check out this New York Times report on the higher premiums that would be created by the Medicare buy-in: "Senate Democrats have provided few details about their latest health care proposal, but this much seems clear: Anyone who wants to buy the same health benefits as members of Congress, or to buy coverage through Medicare, should be prepared to fork over a large chunk of cash. "