Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Will History Repeat?

The health insurance reform bill has been signed but the battle is not over. In the minds of many it has just escalated to the next level.

Even though the Democrat's acknowledge this bill does not comply with the wishes of the people they continue to say something was better than nothing. They voted for change but it remains to be seen how well this will be received over the next few months as the economy continues in a tailspin, jobs are lost, homes and commercial buildings are foreclosed and more banks than ever fail.

Health insurance reform may not be the final straw, but it is certainly the wind that fan's the flames of discontent.

Those who know and remember political history will recall the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988.

The bill provided enhancements to existing Medicare coverage including a new, outpatient Rx benefit. Some of the cost of the changes would be passed on to Medicare beneficiaries.

All Medicare Part B beneficiaries must pay an extra $4 premium each month above the normal Medicare Part A premium. By 1993, the extra premium would have been $10.20 per month. All individuals who were entitled to Part A benefits for more than six months during a tax year and owed at least $150 in federal income taxes would also have paid a supplemental premium of 15% for each $150 for 1989, 25% for 1990, 26% for 1991, 27% for 1992, and 28% for 1993. For tax years starting after 1993, the annual limit would have been tied to increases in the costs of Medicare. The maximum supplemental premium would have been $800 per Medicare beneficiary, or $1600 per couple enrolled in Medicare for tax year 1989; $850 and $1700, respectively, for tax year 1990; $900 and $1800, respectively, for tax year 1991; $950 and $1900, respectively, for tax year 1992; and $1050 and $2100, respectively, for tax year 1993.

The gray panthers revolted and the bill was repealed the following year.

While many have focused on the changes that will affect under age 65 major medical, it is almost forgotten that significant changes will touch Medicare participants. Most notably, some of the free to almost free Medicare Advantage plans that have been so popular will be eliminated.

Will the torch and pitchfork crowd rise up again and force a repeal of Obamacare?

Stay tuned . . .
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