Speakeasy forum


Republicans now vigorously oppose Medicare Part D, the one

by Rob_Boyter / February 4, 2014 4:30 PM PST

they passed in 2003 under George W. Bush. Whaaa?

" The target of Republicans' new criticism is a sensible mechanism to ensure an even distribution of risks across insurance companies. According to Republican leaders like House Budget Chairman Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, these risk corridor provisions are "massive insurance company bailouts." Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has even introduced a bill to strip them from the ACA. Some conservative groups are calling them "nothing more than a built-in, blank check bailout for insurance companies." [Right. And IF true, whose fault is that? RTB]

" What's most remarkable about their comments on risk corridors is that Republican leaders are denouncing a model they created to smooth out rate increases in prescription drug coverage under Medicare. When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted in 2003 to create Medicare Part D, he called the law "the most important social legislation ... in my memory" and said it provided "a genuine opportunity for the private sector to actually compete in offering this new drug benefit." House Republican Leader John Boehner made similar comments, noting in 2007, "By almost every measure, this drug benefit has exceeded expectations, and it continues to score high marks among seniors for providing big savings on their prescription costs."

" An innovative part of the law McConnell and Boehner voted for was its "risk corridors" program, a new idea back in 2003. The corridors are a mechanism to distribute or balance risks across insurance companies, so that those that sign up healthier enrollees help those that attract sicker enrollees. Under the program, if insurers' actual costs for medical claims are more than 3 percent below their expected costs, they will transmit a portion of their profits into the federal Treasury. Those funds will then be redistributed to insurers whose actual costs exceed their expected costs by more than 3 percent. The provisions were included in Medicare Part D to give the insurers confidence to enter a new market. And they worked."


Now despite this article's authors (that means that you don't get to jump up and down screaming over the source, because everything I've posted so far is incontrovertibly true) Medicare Part D was a programme with broad Republican support especially from the current leadership who voted in favour of it. Was Paul Ryan a supporter, or was he languishing in the outer darkness with his cloven hoofed masters?

If this isn't a "four legs good, two legs bad" argument I haven't met one. "When it was our programme it was wonderful. The second the Administration changed it became anathema despite its origins. We only passed it in order to attack it later." Politics as usual in other words.

If many (most?) Democratic representatives as individuals revolt me, and many do, Republicans, at least the Hyper-Conservative Corporate-backed crypto-fascist half, or three-quarters, leave me in a state paralysed between projectile vomitting and a desire to go all Postal on their ***. Picking off one (and their sycophants) after another then settling down to eradicate all those Private Think Tanks and their funders. Funders first I think. Let them get along on individual mail in contributions.

Now you can't accuse me of doing anything about this or even of advocating that someone else do it. I'm old enough that I may not care what happens to me for the last five, ten, or fifteen years I may have left, but I'd never deprive anyone younger of one minute of un-incarcerated freedom. I don't have the resources or even physical contact with my single shot Savage scoped .22 rifle circa 1945. It's 500 miles away and I'll never recover it, not that it would be useful in this case.

I am building a drone in my imaginary garage, however.

But the upper echelon of the Republican Party has become so disconnected from the voting public and the national mood that something quite dramatic needs to happen IMO. Time for a paradigm shift, where the Representatives and Senators are brought back to earth and into contact and made to act responsibly in the vast middle ground of political reality.

It may be possible to fool 30% of the people all of the time, but if it truly were one man one vote, instead of Democrats I/2 vote, Teapublicans 2 votes due to clever re-districting, the 30% would remain the enflamed and purulent Appendix they really are. If ever there was need for National Legislation regarding Representative Democracy, I can't think of a more important one since 1775.

I'm a Democrat willing to accept rule by Eisenhower Republicans. Even Richard Nixon, despite his sad conduct in 1972, looks better than the vast majority.


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Here's why
by TONI H / February 5, 2014 6:16 PM PST

The risk corridor for Medicare Part D was easily forecast because it was limited to seniors for the most part and was predictable so pharmaceutical companies/insurance companies could pretty much know what their costs and charges would be for predictable medications. With Obamacare everything is totally estimated and unknown at this point since what they were told would happen and what was forecast by this administration has turned upside down.........not enough 'young' people are signing up so the risk factor for mostly already sick and/or elderly but not yet on Medicare or ones looking for supplemental insurance are the pools that are actually signing up. Costs can't be predicted any longer anywhere even close to what it is actually turning out to be.

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(NT) What? No way to dispute the facts?
by TONI H / February 6, 2014 9:29 AM PST
In reply to: Here's why
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RE: What? No way to dispute the facts?
by JP Bill / February 6, 2014 12:32 PM PST
The risk corridor for Medicare Part D was easily forecast

It was, was it?

But if you want an analogue to the calamitous rollout of healthcare.gov, it's not the federal response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It's Medicare Part D, the prescription drug program for seniors that the Bush Administration introduced in January 2006.

On Monday, writing in the Washington Post, Ezra Klein reminded everybody of the history: The program's first few weeks were chaotic, with seniors unable to get their drugs because enrollment into their chosen plans hadn't worked. Even Republicans called it a disaster. But the Bush Administration fixed the problems and, eventually, it became popular. Today millions of seniors use it to pay for their prescriptions. Nobody talks of modifying the program, let alone repealing it. It's part of the policy landscape.

The actuarial projections turned out to be wrong, but the law is still increasing deficits by hundreds of billions of dollars in the next decade alone.
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Let's get HIS "facts" straightened out
by TONI H / February 6, 2014 7:00 PM PST

"The first few WEEKS were chaotic"..............fixed quickly compared to the STILL chaotic and/or not working at all (such as Colorado) after MONTHS for Obamacare. AND you are still with Medicare Part D mostly dealing with seniors ONLY......however, because of BO's insistence on doing NOTHING but becoming an obstacle for businesses to create jobs, MILLIONS have left the workforce and either retired early or have gone on disability, and THAT'S the reason the actuarial projections have turned out to be wrong. What WAS predictable in 2006, BO made sure became UNpredictable regarding that program's risk corridor..........BUT it is still less expensive as a 'stand alone' program than the other programs that BO has deliberately caused to increase, such as health insurance subsidies that never existed before, the massive number of people now on State Medicaid rolls (including ones that USED to have their own private insurance), food stamps, Section 8 housing, extended unemployment benefits, etc. There are far fewer people today paying into the tax system than there were even in 2008, AFTER bleeding unemployment layoffs in huge numbers.

As for Katrina in 2005........look at NY and NJ after Sandy.......there are people who are STILL waiting to hear from FEMA who haven't received anything to help rebuild......the MSM doesn't report the lousy track record BO has had with THAT issue.

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Let it out...let it all out
by JP Bill / February 6, 2014 8:52 PM PST

You're Welcome

BO's insistence on doing NOTHING

food stamps, Section 8 housing, extended unemployment benefits, etc

there are people who are STILL waiting to hear from FEMA who haven't received anything to help rebuild......the MSM doesn't report the lousy track record BO has had with THAT issue

FOX claims to be the #1 news source IN THE WORLD all the others are insignificant players...They cry...you cry....well BOO HOO!

FOX News appreciates your support.

Now, back to my refuting your point of

The risk corridor for Medicare Part D was easily forecast

I said it wasn't ...

NOW you say

THAT'S the reason the actuarial projections have turned out to be wrong.

easily forecast/predicable...yet it turns out wrong.

Go figure.

You've been paying for Bushs miscalculations now....Your kids will be paying for Obama miscalculations in the future, and your grandkids will be paying for the next Presidents miscalculations in their future.

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You're wrong
by TONI H / February 6, 2014 10:56 PM PST

The normal number of seniors that were and would be enrolled in Medicare WAS predictable based on the census alone so the risk corridor was very low because insurance companies knew how to base the prices for the drugs that would normally be consumed by those numbers, plus the rate of older seniors passing away factored into those cost numbers as well. The insurance companies, although they knew there was a risk corridor available to them if the numbers went out of whack for some reason, didn't need to COUNT on that 'subsidy' so very rarely, if at all, collected on it.

Since BO has now, all by himself, deliberately contributed to the increased numbers of those out of work who are now on disability and/or retired early because no jobs can be found, and because of Obamacare's juggling with those numbers as well, the risk corridor for insurance companies for Obamacare ALONE is staggering. This was NOT a MIScalculation on the Dem's part....it was DELIBERATELY done, which is why many of the insurance companies were originally in support of Obamacare. They KNEW the subsidies regarding the risk corridor would be huge amounts of money, especially if the younger generation DIDN'T sign up in the numbers BO was 'counting' on.........Watch how fast the insurance companies drop out if the Republicans are successful in blocking payment now that it's turning into such a huge failure. Many major insurance companies are already leaving.....

Also....that risk corridor, from what I've read and researched, is only good for the next three years and then drops off the map unless renegotiated, so even if the insurance companies are able to hang on to those subsidies, they will head for the hills right after the next Presidential election, if not sooner the closer that date gets.

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Their plan is working.....
by JP Bill / February 6, 2014 11:05 PM PST
In reply to: You're wrong

Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven could not have designed a better strategy to catalyze the collapse of the private insurance market, paving the way for single-payer nationalized health insurance—which remains the stated goal of both the president and many members of Congress.

All for one....and one for all.

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You finally admit it......
by TONI H / February 6, 2014 11:41 PM PST

Cloward and Piven..........which is what we've been saying for years has been the liberal agenda all along.

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by JP Bill / February 6, 2014 11:52 PM PST

All for one....and one for all.

You're all in this together......A statement I've used many times.

It took you 10 years to figure out that's what I've been saying?

Or are you talking about an "agenda"...Like you don't have one of them, every other political party has one....you should get one, they're on sale now.

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Cloward and Piven
by TONI H / February 7, 2014 12:36 AM PST
In reply to: Finally?

aren't 'political'.....they're extreme left-wing radicals and Conservatives have been warning about their agendas for years. We also have said for more than 6 years that BO believes in those agendas and would push for them. We weren't wrong and you have finally admitted that. If you like their agendas so much, why aren't you pushing for them to be applied in Canada?

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And this is the reason why I post, but don't get down in the
by Rob_Boyter / February 7, 2014 2:06 AM PST
In reply to: Cloward and Piven

mud anymore. Left Wing Radicals. In the US??? There are none. We all left so we wouldn't be bombarded with HS like this. (Bill Ayers is an Embarrassing AH Radical with neither power nor clout, and someone noone really wants to associate with. And clearly not bright enough to be able to support himself outside the US.)

There are lots of us Moderates in Canada, and not from the 60's either, mostly later, and there are lots I met in Britain. We used to get together to wince over Bushisms, and occasionally to talk one another down after some idiocy on the news.

Sorry I exposed you to Toni's foolishness JP. It was certainly not intended.


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Their "agenda" which was really just a policy position
by Rob_Boyter / February 7, 2014 2:24 AM PST
In reply to: Cloward and Piven

paper was derived from the experiences of all the countries which have moved to the Universal Health Care Single Payer system is in fact the way things work in Canada. Though I will admit to not being that familliar with their position in detail.

The argument in the US since I was a High Schooler was, "if Canada can do it why can't we?" That's one of the reasons the Republican Party began attacking Canada at every turn and bad mouthing any hiccough in the Health system, particularly after Ronnie Ray-gun's good Irish Friend Brian Boloney, sorry, Mulroney withdrew from the Health Care system in contravention of the original legislation. Were there back room deals? Probably. Mulroney was known as the most corrupt Prime Minister in Canadian History.

So you, Toni, are entirely wrong. Canada has had Cloward and Piven's "agenda" in place as policy since 1960, and it works just fine thank you. I'd suggest you look at the Life Expectancy Charts by Nation, and the Infant Mortaility Charts by Nation, and see the relation between Canada who pay roughly 55% of what Americans pay for health care and the US. You'll find Canada about 30 to 40 % from the top, and the US 30 to 40% from the bottom. I grant that these are relatively crude tools, but they're the best we have for measuring national outcomes of Health Care.


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My 'foolishness' dumped the
by TONI H / February 7, 2014 3:55 AM PST

real facts behind your blathering original post regarding your crap against the Republicans fighting the payoff/subsidy written into Obamacare for the insurance companies called 'risk corridor' as a bribe to get insurance companies and their representatives such as the AARP to promote it. The ONLY way Obamacare got past was via threats, bribes, and lies....and it wasn't only aimed at the Senators and Representatives in the House to get the votes. As Pelosi said..."You have to pass the bill to find out what's in it" and more and more American voters ARE finding out........the hard way.....which is why the majority have been been against it almost from the start and increasing in numbers every day that they realize they have been screwed without benefit of Vaseline.

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Toni RE: The ONLY way Obamacare got past
by JP Bill / February 7, 2014 4:05 AM PST
The ONLY way Obamacare got past was via threats, bribes, and lies.

or, as it's know in Washington as "negotiations".

Are you going to start growing Christmas trees?

Were you growing them before?
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As usual
by TONI H / February 7, 2014 5:56 AM PST

You neglect to acknowledge that BO, Pelosi, and Reid had to bribe, threaten, and lie to their OWN party to get the needed votes........not ONE Republican voted in either house for it. You want to call that 'negotiation' and 'business as usual' in Washington, be my guest.......just admit that no amount of your so-called 'negotiation' dealt with both parties.

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