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Nancy Pelosi speaks during a visit by U.S. Representatives discussing bilateral relationships between Egypt and the U.S., in Cairo March 15, 2012. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS)
Rep. Nancy Pelosi
Greg Sargent talked to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi this week, and got her bottom line in negotiating Medicare: don't.
It’s a perennial fear among liberals: In the quest for a fiscal cliff deal, the White House and Democrats will ultimately acquiesce to GOP demands to raise the Medicare eligibility age. But one Democrat is drawing a line against this possibility: Nancy Pelosi.

“I am very much against that, and I think most of my members are,” Pelosi said in an interview with me today. “I don’t see any reason why that should be in any agreement.”

The argument against raising the eligibility age is that it would leave hundreds of thousands of seniors without health coverage and wouldn’t raise that much money for deficit reduction, since many of those seniors would go into Medicaid or the Obamacare exchanges, offsetting savings. The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that it would save $125 billion over 10 years.

Pelosi echoed this complaint succinctly, saying: “Show me the money.” She also said flatly that she didn’t believe raising the eligibility age would be in the final deal, despite GOP demands: “I don’t anticipate that it will be in it.”

Pelosi is helpfully taking the left flank on this, and signaling where the majority of House Democratic caucus votes on this are, Steny Hoyer aside. With likely Republican defections in the House if tax hikes are included, the Democrats might be necessary to pass the deal. Pelosi might not be in the thick of negotiations with Obama, Reid, and Boehner, but it's her job to convey to them where the majority of congressional Democrats stand.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 11:41 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  i'd support letting people turning 65 (0+ / 0-)

    voluntarily postpone their medicare enrollment in exchange for a lump sum of money less than what we'd spend on them if they enrolled.

    i suspect people with insurance at 65 (because they're still working or have nice pensions or whatever) might opt to take the cash and delay their medicare enrollment till an age when they actually need it.

    •  What a fucking stupid idea (5+ / 0-)

      What senior citizen in their right mind will 'opt' to pay a grand a month or likely more for shit insurance when they can sign up for Medicare?

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 11:50:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You didn't read n/t (0+ / 0-)
        •  Medicare isn't an ATM. (6+ / 0-)

          It's insurance for those enrolled. It has no cash value.

        •  Oh I read it (6+ / 0-)

          It struck me as either profoundly naive or ridiculously right wing.  No senior citizen in their right mind will choose to get a lump sum of money so the can go out and buy private insurance rather than get Medicare.  It's a form of Ryan's vouchercare.  It's a complete and utter fucking shit idea.

          It's really obvious you're not a senior citizen and you don't have a fucking clue what it costs to get insurance at the age of 65.  Hell the mere fact that you suggest someone would forego Medicare until they needed it shows how ignorant you are.  Chances are if you are 65 you fucking need healthcare.  Chances are also very good that even if you have a pension, that pension won't pay your monthly premiums.  Chances are fucking slimmer that you're still employed at a job that pays your healthcare at 65.  You're lucky if your job pays a fraction of that healthcare.  If you're unfortunate enough like many are that you have to buy your own health insurance and you're in your early 60's chances are very good that you'll be paying an arm and a leg for it.  So what makes you think someone aged 65-67 will have better luck?

          It's a shit idea.  Period.

          This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

          by DisNoir36 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 12:14:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  once that happens, (3+ / 0-)

      private insurers will start enticing healthier seniors out of Medicare with front-loaded insurance plans that sound sweet in the short run, but then have hidden cost increases down the line.

      Then some people will start wondering why the fuck they're paying into Medicare when they're never going to use it, and why should they pay others' medical bills.

      And they're going to turn against Medicare, and the support for the program will waver, and eventually the Republicans will successfully demagogue it as welfare for poor minorities, and then slash it.

      Whether or not you know it, your idea is a backdoor method of privatizing Medicare altogether, and throwing everyone--including seniors and the disabled--to the tender mercies of the private insurance industry, who, once Medicare is gone, will be even more rapacious now that they no longer have the competition from the government.

      They will be absolutely merciless on the seniors--because seniors require much more health care than younger people, and even if they can't pay, their children and grandchildren will pay through the nose, take out two, three mortgages if they can, to keep Mom and Dad in good health.

      Unlike young people, seniors can't afford to not buy some kind of health insurance; the risk of being uninsured is too great. And in any case, thanks to the ACA, we now have a mandate that legally requires EVERYONE to buy some kind of insurance.

      To the private insurers, seniors are a hugely profitable market that the government has cut them out of completely--and they want it all to themselves.

      The way to save Medicare is to lower the enrollment age to 0 years old, and create a universal single-payer system.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 01:24:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yglesias provides several compelling reasons why (8+ / 0-)

    this is a bad idea.

    The Kaiser Family Foundation has found that lifting the eligibility age from 65 to 67 would reduce federal spending by about $5.7 billion in its first year of full implementation. But that would be offset by $11.4 billion in spending by other parties. That includes $3.7 billion in higher costs for 65- and 66 year-olds, $4.5 billion from employers through company-sponsored insurance, $0.7 billion from state governments, and $2.5 billion in higher average prices for third parties once younger seniors are shifted out of the Medicare risk-pool and into the general population.

    That’s an absurd means of saving the federal government money—akin to raising $12 billion in taxes and then setting half the money on fire. The only people who actually benefit from this shift are health care providers who get to charge higher prices to 65- and 66-year-olds.

    I can't wait to see Former Speaker of the House Pelosi reinstated as such.

    Conservatives seem to believe that the rich will work harder if we give them more, and the poor will work harder if we give them less. E.J. Dionne

    by blueyescryinintherain on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 11:53:12 AM PST

  •  Best thing that happened to me was (6+ / 0-)

    turning 65 and receiving Medicare.  I was in the hospital in 2011 with a hospital bill (not including Drs, Procedures, Radiology {I'm forgetting some things I know}) of over $100,000.  Good luck to anyone receiving a $2000 payment in lieu of a hospital bill, or god forbid, multiple hospital bills.

    •  Were you responsible for the 20%co-pay? I've got (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whaddaya

      one day left to design whether to trade my Medicare in for a Blue Cross Blue Shield Advantage plan which will cost me $189 extra a month (including Part D) but would cap my yearly out-of-pocket payments to $5,000.  

      Having to pay 20% of a potentially $100,000 hospitalization doesn't sound good.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 12:00:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hospitalization (Part A) is paid by Medicare at (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, whaddaya, Calamity Jean

        100%. Part B (out-patient, doctors, labs, etc) requires the beneficiary to pay 20% of the cost. Obamacare hacked away at some of the Advantage coverage. That may need to be factored in to your decision.

        •  Hospitalization alone cost me $1,300 after (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoundDog, renzo capetti, whaddaya

          Medicare Part A.  Part B covers the Drs, tests, etc of which I paid 20%.  5 hospital stays finally tuned me into which part of Medicare pays what.  I can't afford the "extra" insurance since my Soc Sec payment each month is about $800 after Medicare payments.  Part D is not that much more so I have it.

          •  There may be help for you. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HoundDog, renzo capetti, whaddaya

            I did this diary last year so the numbers may be different. They usually go up a little each year. If your income is low enough you might be able to get some assistance paying your premiums and medications. Hope this helps.

            •  Thanks HappyinNM (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              renzo capetti, whaddaya

              I can afford the extra 189/month. And, it is almost certain I'm going to have to have an operation in 2013 for diverticulitis, and maybe an agiogram. Do you think the 2013 Advantage plans are worth it?  They include a $40 a month membership in the local help clubs.

              The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

              by HoundDog on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 12:40:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  All I know about the Advantage plans is that (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                HoundDog, whaddaya

                they cost the government $1,400/yr more than regular Medicare. That figure precedes Obamacare, which I thought had eliminated much of Advantage. You can go to SSA dot gov to see what regular Medicare covers and then compare that to what the Advantage plan you're looking at covers. You can also compare the out-of-pocket expenses. Keep in mind that part of, if not all of that $189 is for the insurance company's profits.

                And you can start eating a shitload (pun intended) of fiber to get your inflammation under control.

            •  Thanks HappyinNM I make too much for the state (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              whaddaya

              Medicaid programs.

              Do the Drs part of Part B include big fees for surgeons?  

              The local doctor here wanted me to go into the hospital for a week drip feed antibiotics after I still had abdominal pain for diverticulitis but I decided to get this Medicare Advantage plan first because I already know the rule surgeons rule is "three strikes and your out,"  and they remove that part of the colon. I've had diverticulitis bad enough to go to the ER at least six times.

              I'm also 58 with chest pains, and family history of heart attacks, so I've been putting off the stress test they want to give too, for the same reason.  

              So I've sort of assumed it would be smart to get a Medicare Advantage plan for 2013 which a capped out of pocket cost - but when I study all the details it looks like the Advantage  plans charge exactly the same premiums and deductibles as Medicare.  

              The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

              by HoundDog on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 12:55:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Actually the medicare part B (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, whaddaya

        caps the patient's cost at $1,300; and no I don't have the
        Advantage Plan of any kind.  I DO have Part D which helps a whole lot, although I hit the donut hole November and December; and I also have the deductible at the first of the year.  February through October are workable.  

      •  I have a medigap policy from AARP to supplement (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        democrattotheend

        my part A and part B of Medicare.  It is so much better than my Medicare advantage plan which I had the first 3 years on Medicare.  I have almost no co-pays.  I do have to purchase an additional prescription policy.  So all in all I pay close to $200/month.  The policy pays my monthly gym membership.  You might look into it.

        The 'shift' is hitting the fan.

        by sydneyluv on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 08:21:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Did Greg Sargeant happen to ask her about (7+ / 0-)

    means-testing Medicare--the back-door way to cutting benefits that conserva-Dem Claire McCaskill is assuring Meet the Press and Morning Joe viewers that Dems are willing to do?

    I wish he had also asked Speaker Pelosi why Dems aren't out their pushing allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, which would save hundreds of billions more than raising the eligibility age or means-testing?

    I also wonder what she would have to say about the public option. Do we only have to talk about the proposals that Republicans want? Why not put Republicans on defense on Medicare for All and lower drug prices?

    Hell, why not make these ideas the issue for the 2014 mid-term elections? Do you want a higher eligibility age or lower drug prices? Do you want to be stuck with private health insurance only or do you want to keep them honest by allowing folks to buy into Medicare?

  •  Lawrence O'Donnell was just on (5+ / 0-)

    MSNBC explaining very clearly that Medicare cuts being described by Democrats as being put into effect on the provider side is just a bunch of bullshit to make people think that it won't reduce benefits.

    That was troubling.  On a number of levels - one which was that neither he nor the SpinCycle panel seemed to think there was anything wrong with it.

    •  We can not keep cutting provider reimbursement (4+ / 0-)

      under this catchall banner "it will not cut benefits." It already does.  I didn't mention it because of the election and party loyalty, but the CBO analyzed the original $500 billion we originally took out of Medicare to pay for the ACA and only one third was the Advantage Plans, another third was reimbursement for hospitalizations.

      Medicare patients have such higher re-hospitilization after that a new rule is being imposed to penalize hospitals as much as 3% of their future reimbursement under the theory that they are discharging Medicare payment too early all ready, due to fixed excessively low reimbursement.

      But, most of the seniors I read didn't believe it either and many have advanced theories that the 15% loss of senior in 2010 from 2008 was the primary reason for our losses then.

      When Romney polled on this he quickly renounced the Medicare cuts and promised to put it back in, and told Paul Ryan to shut up about future cuts.  I think we will commit a blunder if we try to take any more out of Medicare under this non-plausible theory.

      Letting Medicare negotiate with big Pharma is okay, as would be letting seniors buy in to Medicare, would be a great option those it is political doubtful this will even be brought up.

      Last January I read that the Mayo Clinics of AZ will not accept Medicare patients any longer because they lose to much money on them.

      When I was diagnosed with diabetes in April a year and a half ago, the first available appointment with a nutritionist I could get from the award winning Fenway Community Health Center in Boston, which is excellent, was December.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 01:19:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  cutting provider reimbursements is the same (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, whaddaya

        as cutting benefits because if there are no providers who will take Medicare patients, then there are no reimbursements required.

        It is ridiculous that you can't get an appointment faster and we know that's because there are fewer and fewer providers willing to take Medicare.

      •  We can't raise the Medicare tax. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        democrattotheend

        It is regressive and it isn't capped. Raising the Medicare tax would just devastate working people who have to pay for the elderly under Medicare. They matter too. Their checks are already getting slammed enough by payroll taxes.

        So if we can't raise the Medicare tax, where are we going to get the money to pay for the baby boomers? Somebody has to get cut until the boomers are all dead.

        I haven't seen the numbers on what kind of growth it would take to grow our way out of this, but I'll bet its much higher than the 2 to 3 percent we can expect for the next 10 to 20 years.

        I mean, I just don't see a way around this where nobody gets hurt.

    •  It's all a game to them (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      inclusiveheart

      They may find out it's not a game to many of the rest of us.

  •  Steny was a real weasel on the Ed Show last night (7+ / 0-)

    Playing cutesy and being coy about entitlements is so bipartisany. He would give the store away if he ever held the Speaker's gavel.

    •  God forbid! <nt> (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RUKind

      I know he's high up in seniority, but, when Pelosi (eventually, a long, long time from now) retires, isn't there a progressive with some actual negotiating activity who can step in?  Or, at least challenge him?

  •  If I have one complaint about Medicare (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    limpidglass, Calamity Jean

    it is the fact that one has to be almost a lawyer; the verbiage is almost as bad as credit card rules and regs (although at least the print is in a size large enough for an old person like me to read).  And to tell the truth, with all the medical care I have received since I qualified for Medicare, I have not had to make a request for review.  

  •  Didn't we have fully funded Medicare BEFORE (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    the Bush tax cuts?? So WHY do we have to give up Medicare to get this pathetic tax increase on the 2%.  

    Seems to me we are the ones totally caving to the Republicans.

  •  Wrong to raise age (3+ / 0-)

    It's a non starter for conservatives as well as liberals. We are not living longer. Lower middle class and poor people still die at an earlier age than upper income persons.
    Get out of Afghanistan now. It costs $300 million A DAY!

  •  I have friends that made it to 65 only to die (0+ / 0-)

    by 66 or find they were in such bad health because of no insurance  before getting to medicare.

    With people losing so many jobs, and those over 50 not being hired they need their medicare now not later.

    Raising the age to 67 would mean that those people DIE before they ever get to use their medicare.

    Luckily i got my medicare at age 65. My costs:  Medicare $98.00, AARP membership $15 yearly, AARP (United Healthcare Insurance) $194.75 going to $206.25 in April, and AARP MedicareRx Preferred at $40.10.

    I have had cataract surgery on both eyes, some day surgeries, dr appointments, a few emergency room visits, but never had to stay overnight in the hospital.  to date after 5 years my costs have been $0. (none) other than my inusrance payments and a co-pay on some prescriptions.  I love my medicare.

    My husband who is still working has to pay $601 a month and still has Dr co-pays.  Luckily he is NEVER sick.

  •  It should come as no surprise that Pelosi (6+ / 0-)

    has now been excluded from negotiations.

    At House Speaker John A. Boehner’s request, Senate leaders and Representative Nancy Pelosi have been excluded from talks to avert a fiscal crisis, leaving it to Mr. Boehner and President Obama alone to find a deal, Congressional aides say.
    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    Now why would Boehner want to exclude Pelosi, and negotiate exclusively with Obama – someone who has proven willing to raise the Medicare eligibility age in past negotiations?

    •  Betcha half the Village got a hard-on (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whataboutbob

      at the thought that it would just be the “adults” in the room now.

      Very, very bad sign.

      Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
      Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
      Code Monkey like you!

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      by Code Monkey on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 08:13:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  IF Pelosi is willing to stick her neck out... (0+ / 0-)

      and whip the Democratic caucus into line in opposing a bad deal, she doesn't really need to be in on the negotiations (unfortunately, that's a big "IF..." although the fortunes of House Dems isn't as tied to Obama's as they were before the election).
      There will be plenty of teabagging Norquist-worshiping GOPers in the House who will oppose any increase in the marginal rates (not to mention capital gains, estate tax, etc). I suspect that any deal will need a sizable number of Democrats.

      The Goldstone Report: Still accurate, relevant, and damning.

      by DFH on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 01:04:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  there is a medicare problem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RUKind, democrattotheend, DFH

    medicare is a cash cow for doctors and hospitals. the last few months of life for millions of people is a cash bonanza for the health system, and the patient is not even cognizant enough to tell them to leave them alone. there is a problem, but its not the retirement age.

    war is immoral. both parties are now fully complicit in the wars. bring everyone home. get to work.

    by just want to comment on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 08:13:53 PM PST

  •  2010 was only two short years ago. (6+ / 0-)

    (Re-post of my recent comment in a diary from Addison...)
    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    Did President Obama learn any lessons about dampening the enthusiasm of his base heading into a mid-term election?

    Raising the eligibility age of Medicare is a horrible idea, for several reasons.

    - It forces 65 and 66 year-olds into the private insurance market.  This increases insurance premiums for everyone, as the insurance companies will look to recoup the additional expenditures of covering more older, at-risk participants.  Businesses who offer health insurance to their employees will also have to absorb and/or pass on this additional expense.

    - It places an increased burden on the middle and lower classes, who need Medicare much more than the wealthy.  That's a not insignificant percentage of Americans who will have to pay money towards private insurance instead of putting that money back into the economy.  They also are much more likely to work at jobs that require physical labor, so while an extra two years might not seem like a big deal in the abstract, it's a huge deal if you have to bust your ass for two more years because you can't afford to retire without Medicare.

    - It DOESN'T SAVE MONEY.  If you haven't seen it, check out Ezra Klein's analysis on tonight's Rachel Maddow show.  While Ezra argues that the political optics might make this worth pursuing on some level, it doesn't actually produce any real savings.  It's a hollow pursuit.

    - It's a slap in the face to the Democratic base.  Who worked their asses off to help President Obama get re-elected.  Who might be sufficiently pissed to sit on their hands instead of working just as hard over the next two years.

    - We just won an election, I'm pretty sure of that.  Do you think if the Republicans had won they would be willing to increase taxes on the wealthy in order to extract two years of Medicare eligibility?  No way. They're in a corner, grasping at straws, and looking for any trophy they can cling to.  There's no reason to hand them one.

    - Every poll shows Americans as a whole are STRONGLY against raising the Medicare age, period.  President Obama will lose a ton of political capital if he concedes on this point.

    I will be very pissed off if this ends up happening.  I'm sure I will be far from the only one.

    332 - 206. Not a mandate, my ass.

    by StonyB on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 08:14:17 PM PST

    •  agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StonyB, RUKind

      terrible policy, even more terrible politics. If he is considering this, he's a fool...because there will be an uproar...

    •  totally (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StonyB

      I've been ranting at my husband about this after seeing this idea being floated...MHP's Panel was discussing it just now. I'm simply stunned that it's even possible Obama would consider this after his miraculous victory due to the lower-and-middle class voters. How would he be any different then than horrid, lying Snyder of our neighboring state Michigan or, famously, our jackass 'governor' Walker?????
      Hasn't EVERYONE incuding the media been acknowledging that he RAN on tax increases for the 2%???? But-oh, yeah- NOT on raising the Medicare age?????!!!!! WTF am I missing?

  •  I'm 66 on medicare (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Code Monkey, StonyB, RUKind, DFH

    retired with insurance. I got a statement from my BCBS a bill  from Dr. visit for $191. #medicare paid $82.45 my retirement Insurance paid 0.61 cents I have to pay $19. fuzzy math! how are they coming up with that kind of numbers?

    •  Medicare Approved Amount (0+ / 0-)

      The difference over and above the "approved amount" has to be written off by the doctor as "participating provider". It lowered your bill significantly. It's why Medicare is so much better on your wallet.

      Leaving people in the private insurance market just hurts them and the economy. Trying to retire when people have been ravaged by this economy and then cutting them out of Medicare hurts them and it takes the youngest folks out of Medicare-also lowers Medicare revenue.

      The Republicans are just bent on causing people to struggle--and to pay for their corporate cronies for insurance, after working most their lives. It would be  sheer insanity for Dems to agree to this.

  •  Obama and Boehner will shake hands on the deal (0+ / 0-)

    It will gather just enough votes from both sides of the aisle in the Senate to pass.

    Luckily the filibuster will have been fixed so no stray Democrat (or Independent) with principles can stop it.

  •  I keep Liking Nancy Pelosi more and more... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StonyB, RUKind, DFH, DSPS owl, Minnesota Deb

    ... she shows more spine than the President in these situations.  Here's hoping we buck the trend in 2014, and she returns to the role of Speaker.  

    Republicans (and many Democrats) act like the only costs than count are those that are paid through government.  But when talking about a basic human requirement, whatever costs aren't met through the collective (govenment) will fall on individuals - cherry picked and inflated by profit-driven structures.  

    If we really want to "save money" for Americans, we should increase medicare taxes and offset that cost by LOWERING the medicare age - saving taxpayers the cost of underwriting private insurance with its 20% overhead by replacing it with 3% margin Medicare.  Lower it to 50, or better yet, lower it to 0.

    "I’m not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was." - Mitt Romney

    by Deighved H Stern MD on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 08:17:51 PM PST

  •  Well, with the President doing one-on-one (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vet, DFH

    with Boehner, he's certainly not including Pelosi in that.

  •  Apparently she met with the president earlier (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StonyB, RUKind, DFH, Minnesota Deb

    Hopefully she got through to him about this being unacceptable. I can understand why he was willing to compromise on this in 2011, when Republicans were initially demanding much worse cuts in order to raise the debt ceiling, but he is in a stronger negotiating position now, and while he will have to eventually make some concessions (either now or in February, when the debt ceiling comes up), I hope this is not one of them. It will have too great of an impact on some would-be beneficiaries, and it costs more to seniors, their employers and the exchanges than it saves Medicare.

    If they have to make changes to Medicare, which they likely will at some point given the political realities, I would rather them increase the Part B premiums for higher-income beneficiaries. I just looked at the rates and the surcharge for high-income beneficiaries is not terribly onerous (at most, $250 extra a month ($335 total), and that's only for individuals drawing an income of over $214,000 or over $428,000 for joint filers). Categorical means-testing is a bad idea because we don't want to turn it into a welfare program that is easier to cut. But there is a lot of room to raise premiums without turning into a welfare program, as the premium rates (especially combined w/Part A, which has no premium for those who paid in) are far lower than what a senior would pay for insurance on the open market. My parents, who are too young for Medicare, pay at least $1500 a month (may be more now; was $1500 a few years ago) for coverage on the individual market. That rate would likely be even higher for a senior citizen if they did not have Medicare. So there is room to raise premiums for wealthier seniors without making it a means-tested welfare program that has no value to them, and I think this is far more tolerable than raising the eligibility age or increasing cost-sharing across the board.

  •  The Medicare tax rate has been 1.45 percent (4+ / 0-)

    for both the employer and the employee since 1986. I think it should be increased a half a percent or so. We all know that hospital costs/prices and health insurance prices have gone up a LOT more than that since 1986, and we've been told that the total amount we pay in a lifetime of work doesn't cover our costs during our 65+ years, so why not raise the monthly rate a half a percent or so?

    Oh, sure, I know that lots of people will squeal about that suggestion, but people would be a lot better off biting the bullet on this now than getting to age 65 only to find out that Medicare doesn't go into effect until age 67 or that deductibles and co-pays have zoomed up.

    I don't really have a horse in this race since I'm already 65 and collecting medicare benefits. I do, however, know how extremely important this insurance program is. My husband, who is 71, and I would be bankrupt and unable to get health care without it. Heck, we might even be dead. My advice is: If it costs more than is currently being charged, pay it.

    “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

    by RJDixon74135 on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 08:31:04 PM PST

    •  I have no problem with paying more! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl

      I am not there yet but getting close.  I wouldn't have a problem paying more.  It's a much better choice than being forced to wait another 2 years.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 03:47:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Isn't it funny (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Minnesota Deb, dickensgirl

      how so many of us don't mind paying for the services and programs that will permit us to live our later years with some sense of comfort and don't begrudge others the same benefits  Then there are are those for whom Medicare and Social Security are pocket change and who'll spend obscene sums to try and make sure that much of the population endures pain, indignity, hunger, poor health and all that goes with poverty because that's how they measure their self worth.
      What a tale of extremes, good vs. evil, man's inhumanity to man; I guess it's not funny after all.  

  •  It's by default a raising of Retirement Age (8+ / 0-)

    I can't retire at 65, if I won't have medical benefits until 67.  So, what you're really saying is that you have to work and maintain Health Coverage till you're 67.  So much for a retirement with dignity.  It's going to be challenging enough to live until I'm 65 and then retire.  Raising that age to 67 and that's what this proposal does, makes it a bridge too far for many of my working class ilk.  It's ok to do that to some CEO who has 90 Million in their retirement account from robbing the country blind.  But the average worker?  I doubt I'll make to 67 and there's no reason for me to agree to a deal.  Let's go off the Fiscal Handi Cap Ramp.  I'd rather trash the economy and go into another recession than to have this deal.  Raise all rates and tell the Repugs to go F themselves.  They can take the blame for the inevitable recession that will follow.

    •  It will make things impossible (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dickensgirl

      Basically all that will happen is that it will cost you lots more money out of your pocket.  Money that you really need to retire!  Will the foolishness ever stop?  It's simple - the workplace does not want 65+ employments.  In fact, in many businesses being >60 is impossible.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 03:46:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's not gonna happen, so stop the freakout! (0+ / 0-)
  •  Raising the eligibility age is a brilliant idea. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2laneIA, maryabein, DSPS owl, dickensgirl

    Not only does it save the money that we would otherwise foolishly spend on medical care for the 65-67 cohort, but by increasing the mortality of that cohort, it would save even more down the road.

    Moreover, it gives the (trumpet flourish please) real job creators a means to avoid future increases in the Medicare tax--just raise the eligibility age again! Eventually, we will reach an equilibrium in which enough people drop out of the system (i.e.die) to insure that the wealthy don't have to pay a penny more.

    Why didn't I think of that?

    /snark

    Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

    by Tim DeLaney on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 09:29:34 PM PST

  •  If anyone was permanently screwed (0+ / 0-)

    by the first debate meltdown, it was probably Nancy Pelosi (and as a consequence, the rest of us).

    Impossible to falsify, buy . . . .

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 09:33:55 PM PST

  •  I'd rather have Pelosi negotiate with Boehner (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSPS owl

    than Obama.

    Obama brings people together, but his instinct is to compromise rather than maximize his advantages or stand his ground on principle.

    Pelosi fights wicked hard before she accepts a deal. Obama seems to just settle for the best he thinks he can get without causing too much of a ruckus. Pelosi plays relentless ruckus.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 12:37:54 AM PST

  •  she always... (0+ / 0-)

    looks like she's on acid.

    I'm just a "Save Me Baby Jesus Charismatic Allstar"

    by Wedgie Jackson on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 12:51:35 AM PST

  •  the always annoying... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StonyB, Mike RinRI

    ...Ezra Klein was subbing for Rachel Maddow tonight, and he pointed out that Pelosi has not actually ruled out a deal which includes raising the Medicare eligibility age.
    Doesn't the goddamn Democratic leadership know that their party will pay dearly in the midterms if they sell us down the river again?
    Hell, all they need to do right now is NOTHING. Let ALL the Bush tax cuts expire, then challenge Bonehair to vote against a middle-class tax cut.
    To further depress Rachel's viewers, Klein's guest last night was that nauseating corporatist bankster Peter "let's cut Social Security" Orszag.

    The Goldstone Report: Still accurate, relevant, and damning.

    by DFH on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 12:53:32 AM PST

    •  He also showed hos it costs more money (0+ / 0-)

      than it saves.  Look, the beltway pundits love to speculate on these things.  It gives them something to talk about.  I think there is serious doubt that raising the medicare age would do anything except create would hardship and cost more money.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 03:43:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No she hasn't ruled out changes (0+ / 0-)

      I read into her comments that she's opposed to a rise in the eligibility age but on a scale of 1 to 10 I'm putting her objections at about a 6, maybe 7....tops  .  I just don't see any line in the sand; on the contrary, I see the issue being put on the table and open for discussion.  I love Nancy but this has me very concerned.

  •  Thinking must be maintained on Medicare. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSPS owl, StonyB

    We do not have a medicare problem, We have a healthcare cost problem.

    Democrats have never been in a better position to stand our ground and keep Medicare going and improve it. Republicans spend like there is no tomorrow and then when Democrats get into power the mantra is we have to cut spending and it always shows up in the form of Social security, Medicare and Medicaid.

    Enough is enough. Republicans are melting like the wicked witch of the west. In Media and in the Congress there is is dis array. I think that every Republican congressman should abandon Grover Norquist and John Boehner and sign the discharge petition.

    We had better get focused on 2014 and who we are going to replace in the congress... The first name that comes to mind is Mitch McConnell, there should be consequences for filibustering everything in sight.  

    Let's get the word out people. Remember, We do not have a Medicare problem, we have a healthcare cost problem....

  •  Actually this would COST more money (0+ / 0-)

    than it saves.  I can't of a stupider and crueler policy change than raising the medicare retirement age.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 03:41:44 AM PST

  •  I don't trust the DC DEM's anymore. (0+ / 0-)

    Too many LIES under the bridge.

  •  we need to start squawking NOW (0+ / 0-)

    can someone here at DK please please post about how to rally people to swamp the White House or OFA or somewhere it would count?? I's utterly freaked out this morning and I will go to WhiteHouse.gov or get the ph. no. to call WH gladly, but we need NUMBERS on this.
    Maybe someone already has a diary, if so, I apologize. I've been tied up and away from here for quite awhile. Thanks!

  •  Let's lower the age to 18 (0+ / 0-)

    or so. I'll pay the premiums to buy coverage for my family while I'm under 65. Maybe if we broaden the pool enough the insurance cost will be as low as it is in Canada.

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