Thursday, February 23, 2012

Obamacare - Wealthy Need not Apply

Class warfare now includes Obamacare. Michael Cannon at Cato posits about Mitt Romney's wealth and wonders if he has health insurance.

His assumption is, with all Romney's millions does he really need to buy health insurance.

While Mitt and I have not had a teachable moment over a beer, I feel reasonably comfortable in saying the Romney clan doesn't NEED health insurance but it still might be a wise purchase.

Moving forward, Mr. Cannon notes that Gov. Romney will turn 65 in March of this year and wonders if the federal government, with all their money woes, should provide Medicare to the wealthy.

My response is, why not?

Just because Chairman Obama feels that at some point you have made enough money does DC also think that at some point you don't deserve health insurance?

Mr. Cannon asks:

If Romney does not enroll in Medicare, it would again look bad that he who forced others to purchase health insurance is opting not to obtain health insurance himself. But if he does enroll in Medicare, it’s worth asking whether the 99 percent should subsidize people like him.

I really am tiring of this 99% vs 1% argument.

As far as I know, Gov. Romney earned his money fairly and legally. And I suppose he has paid all the taxes he is legally obligated to pay and probably not a penny more.

What's wrong with that?

Beyond the fact that Gov. Romney (and many others) have paid in to Medicare for perhaps most of their life, the way Medicare is structured, when you turn 65 you are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A.

Medicare Part B and Part D are options, but Part A is automatic.

For what it's worth, anyone turning 65 can refuse Medicare but, for most of us at least, it is not a wise choice. If you refuse Medicare you are denied from receiving your earned Social Security benefits.

OK, let's play with this a bit.

If Gov. Romney has enough cash to pay his medical bills he probably doesn't need Social Security, but . . . if he wants to pay cash for his post age 65 medical bills he may run in to a problem.

The 1997 Balanced Budget Act, Section 4507, forbids "private contracts" between doctors and patients, essentially making it illegal for a doctor to bill a (Medicare age) patient for services rendered. Private patients cannot pay cash for a Medicare covered service unless the doctor has opted out of Medicare.

So if Gov. Romney (and other wealthy individuals) need medical treatment they will be limited to providers that are not accepting ANY Medicare patients.

For you 99%'ers out there who think the wealthy should forfeit their Medicare, you need to find another drum to beat.

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