LEtters teaser

Medicare from birth | Letter

America can provide health care for all Americans by enrolling every newborn baby in Medicare for Newborns (Medicare Part N).

After five years of Medicare Part N, the enrollment age for Seniors in Medicare can be lowered by one year every year. In 30 years, everyone will be covered.

The Medicare Act Amendment will add newborn babies to Medicare under the same basic terms that Medicare is provided to seniors. The same computer systems and charges presently included in Medicare could be used. Medicare Part N will enroll about 4 million newborn babies each year, which is about the same number of Senior Citizens enrolled in Medicare each year.

Insurance companies could continue to offer Supplemental Insurance plans and Medicare Advantage plans now offered to seniors under Medicare. Vision, hearing, professional child care, and psychological care could be included in the Supplemental plans or the Advantage plans, paid for according to Part N rates and charges.

Employer-sponsored health insurance plans could be structured to include Medicare – Part N enrollees. The only thing that would change is that Medicare, not the insured or insurance companies, would pay the premiums for Medicare Part N.

Health insurance companies will not be required to participate. But most would, or they would risk losing Supplemental or Advantage Plan business to other insurers, to the Public Option, if enacted, or to Medicare itself, which could continue to administer all Medicare at a 5% cost rather than the 20% to 30% big insurers take off the top.

Medicare – Part N could be paid for by removing the income cap for the Social Security and Medicare taxes. Additionally, a Cash Flow Financial Transaction Tax of .1 of one percent could be imposed on all movements of money – with no exceptions, exclusions, deductions, or excuses. The tax would be used exclusively for health care for all Americans.

In addition to improved child health, Medicare Part N would reduce the number of abortions.

Steve Wehrly

Friday Harbor