Late last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that a breakthrough deal had been reached on the contentious healthcare reform bill the President has been asking for. But have they compromised away the core of the reform in this bill? Did they deal away the part that really would have put some competition into the market to bring down the absurdly high rates people are faced with to maintain their coverage? Will it make an insurance option available to those for whom today’s coverage is already priced beyond reach?
The deal has not been disclosed in full detail. But according to Democratic sources, it essentially jettisons the government administered public option in exchange for a health insurance exchange which won’t take effect until 2014 and for the agreement to allow people to buy into Medicare at age 55 instead of the current age 65 limit. This blogger’s opinion is that this bill from the Senate does nothing to keep costs down. It does however mandate that all Americans buy some kind of insurance. And it shunts more older people into Medicare which will help the private insurers pay out less in benefits since younger people are typically in better health and make less claims. So who wins? I’d say the American public is getting the short end of the stick while the private insurers get a law that guarantees them a whole lot of new customers while simultaneously allows them to push more folks with real medical needs out the door. If you see it differently, sound off in the comments and let me know what your perspective is.