Debate on Massachusetts Rages

Posted September, 8 2008 by arianne

For two contrasting points of view, see the New York Times editorial, on August 30, 2008, The Massachusetts Way, and a September 7, 2008, Letter to the Editorial Board by HCFANY Policy Committee member, Len Rodberg, Professor of Urban Studies at Queens College, CUNY and research director of the New York Metro Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program Letter to the Editor.  


Arthur Springer • Sep.09.2008 at 08:14:pm

No. “Expanded Medicare for all” may be a popular campaign slogan for the well-insured political class, but it would be a disaster for everyone else. Providers would suffer because Medicare reimbursement rates are often inferior to Medicaid rates. And the disabled poor now covered by Medicaid would pay more for less … prohibitive co-insurance for inferior benefits. The model for universal coverage should be the much-maligned and misunderstood Medicaid program that provides comprehensive coverage for all medically necessary care. The task ahead for the next generation of health care reformers is to overcome the prevailing allergy to addressing the under-insured, a problem that can easily keep reformers busy for the rest of this century.

Arthur Springer • Sep.23.2008 at 02:06:am

Herewith another nail in the coffin for the mistaken idea that Medicare should be the model for a universal health care program in the US:
How Does the Benefit Value of Medicare Compare to the Benefit Value of Typical Large Employer Plans?

This analysis finds that, even with its new drug benefit, Medicare on average provides less generous benefits to seniors than they would receive under a typical large-employer health plan or the most popular plan available to federal employees.

The study compares the traditional fee-for-service Medicare benefit package, including the drug benefit, with a typical large employer PPO plan and with the Blue Cross/Blue Shield standard national PPO plan available to federal workers under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan, which covers about half of all federal workers.

It finds that seniors on average would expect to receive Medicare benefits valued at $10,610 in 2007. In comparison, they would expect to receive benefits valued at $12,160 in the typical large employer PPO and $11,780 in the federal workers’ plan.

Researchers at Hewitt Associates and the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted the analysis and authored the study.

Reports, Studies and Toplines Icon Issue Brief (.pdf)

Information provided by the Medicare Policy Project
Publication Number: 7768
Publish Date: 2008-09-22

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