08 December 2009

angry sheep

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Our vaunted legislative branch is still completely useless... just in case you hadn't looked lately....
Senate Dems seek expansion of Medicare, Medicaid
By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent – Mon Dec 7, 9:44 pm ET

WASHINGTON – With time growing short, Senate Democratic liberals are seeking expansion of two large federal programs, Medicare and Medicaid, as part of a compromise that drops a government insurance option from health care legislation sought by President Barack Obama, several lawmakers said Monday.

Under the potential trade-off with party moderates, near-retirees beginning at age 55 or 60 who lack affordable insurance would be permitted to purchase coverage under Medicare, which generally provides medical care beginning at 65. Medicaid, the federal-state health care program for the poor, would be open to all comers up to 150 percent of poverty, or slightly over $33,000 for a family of four.

The compromise under discussion also envisions private insurance companies selling national, non-profit plans, to be overseen by a federal agency, an alternative to a longstanding call by liberals for the government to sell insurance as a means of forcing competition on the industry.

"It's one of those kind of things in the middle that doesn't make everybody very happy but that's our compromise," Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said after talks ended for the day. "It's something I'm going to probably have to live with."

Harkin also said Majority Leader Harry Reid had imposed a deadline of Tuesday on the talks as he tries to complete work on the sweeping legislation in the next few weeks.

While Harkin and others spoke with optimism, there were few details available. It was not immediately clear, for example, what the legislation would provide if no insurance company agreed to sell a nationwide non-profit plan....
It gets worse from there.


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