The Lieberman Medicare Plan

1. Raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67. This would put the eligibility age for Medicare back on par with Social Security.

2. Merge Medicare Parts A and B. Because Part A (hospitals) is more generous than Part B (physicians), seniors are often incentivized to seek expensive hospital care cheaper outpatient care.

3. Raise premiums. At Medicare’s inception, retirees paid 50 percent of the program’s costs in premiums. Today, they only pay one-quarter. He proposes raising those premiums in Part B and Part D, the prescription drug plan, to 35 percent of program costs, beginning in 2014.

4. Reform Medigap supplemental insurance. “Medicare enrollees who have supplemental coverage use as much as 25 percent more services.” Lieberman doesn’t offer a specific proposal for dealing with Medigap—but see the NCPA proposal here.

5. Tax the rich (i.e., the upper-middle class).  He proposes a1 percent surtax on personal income above $250,000.

See Sen. Joe Lieberman’s Washington Post editorial and commentary by Avik Roy, Ezra Klein, Don Taylor, and Austin Frakt and Aaron Carroll.

Comments (11)

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  1. Joe S. says:

    I like all the proposoals except the last one.

  2. Ken says:

    Ditto Joe’s comment.

  3. Virginia says:

    I was going to say the exact same thing as Joe.

  4. Devon Herrick says:

    At least Lieberman is willing to discuss unpopular policies (e.g. raising the age of eligibility and requiring beneficiaries to pay more of their costs). Most politicians want to talk about reform while only touting non-specific plans to boost quality and efficiency without any of the stakeholders getting their ox gored (expect doctors who are supposed to treat complicated Medicare patients for Medicaid rates).

  5. bob hertz says:

    Leiberman is yet another legislator who promotes individual insurance but will never have to buy it himself. Like John McCain, Dick Cheney, and (for a long time) Phil Gramm, Leiberman has been covered by a guaranteed-issue community-rated government plan almost all his adult life.

    This does not make him wrong; let’s just say it moderates my admiration.

    If in his plan the 65-66–67 year olds have a low income, they will get Medicaid. (I for one hope that this portion of Obamacare survives.)

    Otherwise, commercial age-rated health insurance for someone 65-67 years old will cost at least $500 a month if they are accepted at all. And that is for a high-deductible policy.

    The private insurance industry has no product for a 65 year old with a modest income. (That is true for long-term care insurance as well as health insurance.)

    This does not make the industry evil. No one is Americe is selling new cars for
    $1,500 either. It is just a financial fact of life.

    Leiberman (or his advisors) shoiuld have recognized this before leading off with an age exclusion. The rest of his reforms deserve attention, however.

    Bob Hertz -The Health Care Crusade

  6. Bart says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with asking 65-year-olds to pay more for insurance than 25-year-olds. Older folks have more money,they have probably paid off the mortgage on their home, and they don’t have the expenses of raising children.

    It should be a normal fact of life that as you age, you will have to devote more of your income to health care.

  7. john says:

    Hi, care to respond to Austin Frakt’s comment on your 6/13 post?

  8. Candace says:

    Raising the eligibilty age should be a no-brainer when there is a raise in life expectancy.

  9. fausto412 says:

    why is being able to discuss ugly policies a badge of honor? it isn’t like his plan is going anyways or solves the long term health care problem. His plan just kicked the can down the road and quite possibly increases costs.

    and we are all waiting for the response to Austin Frant’s blog and Krugman’s also.

  10. Yure says:

    I have not denied any data, I have mrleey clarified it. Are you really that simplistic? If a potato costs 50a2 here, and costs you $1.50 where you’re at, but yet I have to pay an additional $2.00 for processing and handling fees where I’m at, isn’t that worthy of mentioning? Is it really fair for me to say that potatos are cheaper for me than they are for you?If the information I provided isn’t reasonable to you, you’re simply not a reasonable person. The point I made is critical.

  11. Micheal says:

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