But wait, the apologists might say, you're leaving out the subsidies planned for this age group. That's fine but they don't start until 2014. But if you don't have the money now, what use is a Medicare buy in? You can just tough it out until 2014 or go looking for that mythical social safety net. And who knows if you'll get a subsidy to make the plan affordable in 2014.
Basically, the Democrats traded a meaningless public option for a meaningless Medicare buy in.
Then there's that other great opportunity Alterman mentioned, those nonprofit federal health plans created by insurance companies.
other people will be able to buy health insurance from nonprofit
entities formed by for-profit companies tightly regulated by the Office
of Personnel Management." Alterman
Eric should have had less faith in Paul and paid more attention to the TPM write up. He might have been less enthusiastic.
been widely reported, one of the trade-offs will be to extend a version
of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan to consumers in the
exchanges. Insurance companies will have the option of creating
nationally-based non-profit insurance plans that would (be) offered on
the exchanges in every state. However, according to the aide, if insurance companies don't step up to the plate to offer such plans, that will trigger a national public option." TPM, Dec 8
Fasten your sea belts! We have entered full disinformation mode. The Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHB) can't be extended if it has just nonprofit health providers. The current FEHB program has quite a few for-profit health insurance companies.
More importantly, FEHB is a plan funded by the employer (self-funded). That means that companies like Anthem (Blue Cross/Blue Shield), CIGNA, and others simply administer the benefits, most of which are paid for by the employer, the federal government (with a much smaller percentage covered through employee contributions).
How on earth can they say that they're extending a plan paid for by the federal government when they have new member premiums funding the majority of member care? In this regard, the Senate compromise is the exact opposite of the FEHB. These people are just making it up as they go along.
The program Alterman mentions gives insurance companies the right of first refusal to create the nonprofits themselves. How likely is that? It's about as likely as Dick Cheney turning himself into the FBI for war crimes.
If the for-profits fail to create the nonprofits, the Democrats new version of a "trigger" would lead to a national public option. None of this would benefit anybody until 2014 when the insurance "exchanges" are rolled out, if that ever happens.
But Eric doesn't care. He's a man of action who is in a faith based bond with his main man Paul Krugman: "(If Paul Krugman is happy, I'm happy.)" Let's see what the main man has to say:
"The Health Care Compromise
"Here's what's being reported. No public option, but a trigger which is unlikely to be pulled. But some good stuff in exchange: nonprofit plans available through the exchanges, plus Medicare buy-ins for the 55-65 set (me! me! me!).
"If this is the final plan, it's better than most of us were expecting -- and definitely good enough to go with." Paul Krugman, Conscience of a Liberal, Dec 9
So Alterman is happy because his friend Krugman is happy. Krugman is happy because he read a report in TPM (quote above) that shows that the Senate compromise produces a high cost Medicare buy in that is manifestly unaffordable by those in need and absent any subsidies until 2014 (presuming the subsidies are "deficit neutral").