Author Topic: Obamacare: Don't trust anyone over 60?  (Read 332 times)

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Online mystery-ak

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Obamacare: Don't trust anyone over 60?
« on: October 14, 2013, 10:41:38 AM »
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/commentary/la-oe-obamacare-generational-warfare-20131014,0,6230403,print.story

 Obamacare: Don't trust anyone over 60?
Mandatory health coverage could be the catalyst for a new generational war.

By Robert Hahn and Peter Passell

October 14, 2013

The Republicans' obsession with Obamacare has been variously described as a tactical ploy to preserve the semblance of unity in a divided party or as a fundraising magnet to raise money from the sort of folks who think President Obama is a reincarnation of Lenin. It may be either (or both). But the idea of closing down the government, and even threatening to precipitate a global credit crisis, over the healthcare law has been widely written off as myopia on the part of the live-free-or-die crowd.

We're not so sure. Focusing on Obamacare in general, and mandatory coverage in particular, could prove a plausible strategy for broadening the anti-Obama coalition to include voters in their 20s and 30s by bringing attention to what economists call the "cross-subsidy" inherent in any insurance system based on mandatory coverage. And, with hindsight, it may yet be seen as the opening salvo in a generational war, one fed by the reality that older Americans are a rapidly growing burden on younger workers, who can ill afford it.

As everybody with a pulse must know by now, if the only folks who buy Obamacare coverage are the sick and those in late middle age, the system will be self-supporting only at very high premiums, hardly a recipe for cementing popular support. That's why candidate Obama reluctantly accepted the individual mandate as part of his health insurance plan, adding a spoonful of sugar for those who are poorly paid (but Medicaid ineligible) in the form of need-based subsidies. Indeed, as pundit Matt Miller has pointed out, such generational transfers are the keystone to virtually all health insurance: Employer-based group insurance works only because younger workers help carry older ones.

There are powerful economic arguments in favor of universal coverage. For one thing, it solves the "free-riding" problem. Because we collectively assume responsibility for the uninsured when they end up in the hospital anyway, why not ask them to take some responsibility before the fact? Equally to the point, mandatory coverage would probably cut the country's total medical bill, reducing the financial incentive for an individual to delay treatment until a garden-variety illness morphs into a case for the ICU.

That said, it is still foolish to ignore the leverage that the individual mandate gives opponents of Obamacare. America's healthcare system for the elderly (Medicare, plus Medicaid for nursing-home care) is already edging the country toward generational war because Washington will sooner or later be forced to choose between drastic limitations on coverage in those programs or drastic increases in taxes on the decreasing portion of working Americans. Now we're adding a parallel obligation on younger workers to subsidize healthcare for fiftysomethings.

What to do? The path of least political resistance is to tough it out, hoping younger households will be unable to figure out what's happening, or simply unwilling to throw in their lot with opponents of gay marriage, marijuana reform and the like. Alternatively, we could start paying attention to the building crisis as younger households scramble ever harder for a middle-class living standard.

And none too soon, because the signs of generational conflict are already appearing. Think, for example, of the flare in anger over the burden of college loans. Or the popular resentment of government employees who (at least until recently) could count on job stability, adequate health insurance and even pensions.

Those of us who are doing very well in a system that isn't working very well for the majority would be wise to do something about it before the doo-doo hits the fan. Then again, in light of what's been happening in Washington lately, maybe it's already too late.

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Offline GourmetDan

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Re: Obamacare: Don't trust anyone over 60?
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2013, 11:46:44 AM »

'Logan's Run' approaches... for those over 60...


"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." - Ecclesiastes 10:2

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Offline Cincinnatus

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Re: Obamacare: Don't trust anyone over 60?
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2013, 11:50:21 AM »
Quote
The Republicans' obsession with Obamacare has been variously described as a tactical ploy to preserve the semblance of unity in a divided party or as a fundraising magnet to raise money from the sort of folks who think President Obama is a reincarnation of Lenin

But of course, that's what opposition is all about. It has nothing whatsoever to do with ever expanding government power; concerns about the ultimate cost when we are already $17 trillion in debt; the negative impact that will surely come, like night follows day, in the delivery and practice of medical services in America; empirical observation of similar systems like the NHS in the United Kingdom and how poorly they are run; similar observations about how badly the rollout has been conducted and what this augurs for the future of the program; and deep concerns about how the elderly will be treated when cost, as they inevitably will, spin out of control.

Nope, none of those things. On Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, I oppose ObamaCare in the spirit of party unity. The remainder of the week I do so because I am sure Obama is the reincarnation of Lenin or perhaps even Beelzebub. Yep, definitely, that's what my opposition is all about.
We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid ~~ Samuel Adams


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