Question About Medicare Expansion

I have a question, impelled by the expansion of Medicare that is part of the “Build Back Better”. What would the economic effects of an expansion of Medicare be?

I suspect that the presumably unintended effect will be to increase the cost of healthcare and not appreciably increase non-healthcare spending. Think about it and you should be able to figure out my reasoning.

3 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    I’m not sure I’m all that familiar with the Medicare expansion. The child care provisions look like a mess. Large subsidies coupled with massive restrictions on who can provide child care. Some people are going to lose their current child care provider.

    And IIRC, its a relative short-term subsidy built on matching state contributions. I’m less certain about this aspect, but see the potential for blue states to take the deal and then get stuck with the long-term expectations.

    Of course, the Senate might change everything, but some point we will have a policy discussion on the trade-offs, maybe?

  • Grey Shambler Link

    Well, from what little i know they are throwing expectations of dental and hearing aid coverage that are bound to disappoint anyone who thinks that these things will actually be covered.
    Yes, there are low cost hearing aids and you can limit dental coverage to extractions and dentures and that’s what I expect will be the happy ending to Biden’s generous Medicaid expansion.

  • bob sykes Link

    I assume we’re talking Medicare and not Medicaid. I also assume “non-health care spending refers to government spending.

    Many retired people buy supplementary insurance for eye care, dentistry, and drugs. My wife and I do. So if the expansion merely covers the usual Part D supplementary insurance, our out-of-pocket costs might go down while the cost to the government goes up. I think it’s a wash for the economy as a whole, unless the government adopts the most comprehensive Part D plans. Your just shifting payments from one pocket to another.

    It is almost certain that any increase cost to government will be paid by borrowing. The idea of paying for government programs by taxation is dead and buried.

    Under the ACA (Obamacare), the percentage of people with health insurance has gone from about 85% to about 90%. The remaining 10% are likely young adults, who only need insurance for catastrophic accidents, and the rich who hire concierge doctors and hospitals.

    One recurrent Progressive proposal is to put literally everyone on Medicare: i. e., nationalize health care. That would give us all the evils of the British NHS and the Canadian health care systems. If we are going to have national health care, I wish someone would look into the German system. This combines mandatory basic insurance plus a flexible and voluntary supplementary insurance. My daughter, who lives in Germany, is very happy with the scheme, because she tailors her insurance to get what she needs. Of course, it is expensive. About 30% of her gross income goes to the German version of Social Security and Medicare. There is no Medicaid.

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