If you could sign up for Medicare right now, would you?

Health care reform legislation in both the House and the Senate offers the option of a government-run insurance plan similar in some ways to Medicare, the program that covers Americans over 65. If you could sign up for Medicare right now, would you?

Comment texted to MPR:

Fo sho! Cheaper health care is where it’s at. -Mike, Savage, MN

  • Deb Staley

    Yes, provided the Medicare reimbursement got fixed, so it is equitable among states and that all services are covered (other than elective cosmetic procedures). For I believe in a single payer system.

    A single payer system is the way to provide health care to all; not having rationed health care as we do now; and the over all cost (provided the Medicare reimbursement is fixed.

  • Mike in St Paul

    Yes. Without question. Medicare would simplify the medical process for me and my family; no more spending my time calculating how much I’ve spent out of pocket, and my company wouldn’t need to pay those costs to a health plan, they could pay those costs directly to me.

  • Steven

    Of course I would. Why would anyone not want to?

  • Deb Licata

    I would as I am completely uninsured and anything would beat that. I would like some possibility of help on prescribed medications, as well.

    My spouse had Medicare and is having some issues with the COB with his COBRA plan, and so we are working with other options.

    If the working with Medicare persons that deal with claims and disputes over claims was simplified a bit, that would help as well.

  • Rick Moe

    Absolutely. I would rather send my thousands of dollars of health premiums to Medicare than Wall Street. The condemnation of government health care is bunk.

  • Rita Moe

    Yes. Yes. Yes. This whole healthcare reform debate could be simplified by just expanding Medicare coverage beyond seniors. It could be implemented gradually.

  • Susan Lahti

    Of course I would! What freedom that would bring! I’d gladly devote the portion of my paycheck that goes to my health insurance to a Medicare type plan.

    It’s a no brainer.

  • Alison

    No, but I have excellent employer based health coverage. My concern about health care funding isn’t for my family, it’s for the many uninsured and underinsured.

  • Mark

    Yes, unquestionably. I’m 6 years from being eligible and would sign up today if the program were expanded (aka lower the age limit).

  • Carole

    Yes. Yesterday my hours were reduced to 16 hours per week. Now I am in need of health care and do not yet qualify for Medicare. This is frightening.

  • MiltFriedman

    Would I support Americans having the option?

    Yes, absolutely.

    Would I welcome reform, focused on wellness of Americans, rather than force doctors to prescribe more treatments in order to break even and eventually make a little bit of money, in a tight economy?

    Yes, if the providers (doctors, hospitals and others) and those working on behalf of HHS can CONFIRM that the 1500+ page Bill (that few who make under $350 per hour to make sense of it can read) does what they, who deliver healing and wellness, need it to.

    Do I believe that it is *possible* there may be 20 million or more people in the USA that will not sign up for health care no matter what the benefits or costs to them? Absolutely. Thus remains the question: how would this change the current system making Medicaid the catch-all, and continuing to not document illegal aliens? I see Democrats as needing to crack down on enforcement, as a quid pro quo. Do they have the will?

    The Health Care battle royale (SLUGFEST?) between

    the business owners and aristocratic elites (the funders of Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity/Glenn Beck) who wish to maintain the status quo (maintain/increase PR pressure to reduce all taxes and fees to zero),

    which makes up 45% of polled Americans, by one estimate

    and

    The Democrats, some of whom (The President & his economic team) are genuinely trying to reform & cap a runaway cost structure that’s getting worse every day as a % of GDP, due to waste, fraud, inefficiency, and lack of incentives to promote wellness outcomes;

    supported in the same poll by 55% of Americans.

    This is a representative democracy, so there will be no voice of the people.

    Congress has now hoisted up a strawman “Public Option” , yet commissioned an expensive media blitz designed to influence public opinion to turn against and destroy that which they supported before.

    That way, it won’t be Congress’ fault that reform fails–it will be the general public. Always blame the voters-they will put their own interests last.

    Bottom line, it is exceedingly difficult to dictate to/persuade a powerful industry of wealthy insurance companies that change is good for them because it is good for the American public’s financial and physical health, when they are the direct beneficiaries of obesity, the food processing industry’s continued promotion of low-budget & or fast food that is all that middle and lower classes can afford, etc.

    Even when the majority of doctors polled support responsible reform.

    The President & his team can’t possibly have every single one of the answers to this complex problem, in the first draft.

    Is he aware, however, of the importance of the need to assure the doctors and providers their revenue streams for a transition period of several years?–in the same way that telecom providers were allowed a phase-in period of years during the break-up of AT&T?

    I don’t know if he has taken the time to win them over on this very important point. And even if he did, the powerful insurers and their corporate customers have the deepest pockets of all; if they want to destroy health care reform, they seem to be willing to spend their last nickel to do so.

    Be grateful for your health and maintain it; if you’re a middle or lower-class American, the GOP wants you to see a doctor only on their terms, and on as much of your dime as will continue to support their ultra-elites’ increasingly aristocratic lifestyle.

  • mudmanor

    YES! The job situation would greatly improve if many of we boomers had medical care so we could retire before age 65.

  • Paula

    In a red-hot minute.

    I am self-employed (70-80 hours/week). My husband works (40-70 hours/week) for a small company with only one employee in Minnesota. We have always been pretty healthy and take good care of ourselves, but we were still denied coverage by several carriers. The only coverage that would take us that we can afford (on a solidly middle-class household income) has a $10,000 deductible with no exception for preventive care and zero mental health coverage, which is where 95% of our needs lie. Plus, I am terrified that if we got so sick that we exceeded the $10k deductible and the policy actually paid for something, the insurance company would find some excuse to terminate the policy.

    I have my fingers crossed that health care reform will include a public option that can’t turn us away and where the combined cost of insurance + out-of-pocket health care won’t be in excess of, say, 10% of our income. Think of all the more economically productive things we could spend that money on!

  • Robert

    Yes, I would love to sign up for Medicare, AKA a “public option” right now. I would be able to walk away from my current health insurance company, chosen for me by my employer without my input, which has this year denied 3 legitimate claims, made it a huge hassle to try to get them to pay, and has required us to provide a copy of our marriage license, our kid’s birth certificate and our 2008 tax returns just to let my family stay insured. I would love to have health insurance that is designed to insure me, not designed to make a profit from dodging insuring me while taking my money. A public option would also enable me to feel comfortable starting my own business. I currently do not feel safe doing this because private insurance for me, my wife and kid would cost upwards of $1200 a month, and insurance companies can be even more unscrupulous when dealing with individuals who aren’t insured through their employer, denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions, etc., and having the legal ability in Minnesota to end coverage for an individual (not insured through their employer) at any time for any reason. Would I welcome a straightforward, honest, stable, reliable, affordable public health insurance option like Medicare? Absolutely. Do I think such a plan will put private insurance companies out of business? No, but if it does, their greed and lack of humanity has dug their own grave.

  • Kristine

    Yes! I believe the government would do a much better job serving Americans than the private sector would ever be willing to do. I would race to closest government office and sign up. Then I would send a donation to closest U.S. Rep. Who voted for expanded Medicare. It would not be my own Rep., unfortunately, I am in Ms. Bachmann’s district.

  • Kathleen McQuillan

    You bet I would. I have spent the last several years assisting my aging mom through her health care. Medicare serves her superbly! And with minimal stress. This is in contrast to my personal experiences (and observed in my professional world , as I work in a health care setting) of the time-consuming (and costly) negotiations over coverage with my private health insurer. This is after spending thousands per year on premiums. We all deserve better ! With some tweaks toward improvements– I’d take Medicare in a heartbeat! Even if it means an increase in my taxes.

  • Stephen H Philbrook

    Yes I would. It would be the easiest way to get to universal coverage. The current bills coming through congress are about 2000 pages long. The entire Canada Health Act is a mere 14 pages in length. I have yet to meet a Canadian who would give up there health care system.

  • Bernice

    Thom Hartmann’s suggestion that the government open Medicare to any person under 65 who pays its premiums , thereby making Medicare the public option, would be embraced by Americans who will still face higher premiums every year under the plans on offer because they do not control costs.

    It would be a second-best solution to single-payer but SO much better than what we’re likely to get — a weak public option which would cover as few as 8 million people and would make people with horrible employer-paid plans stay with them.

    Howard Dean supports this idea as do local groups including the Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition (muhcc.org) and Physicians for a National Health Program-Minnesota (pnhp-mn.org).

  • Paul Schupanitz

    Yes.

    Maybe your next question should be: If you are on Medicare now and could opt out to buy your own health insurance, would you?

  • Suzanne

    In a heartbeat! Last year my husband and I paid $12,000 for insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs which was 23% of our income–totally ridiculous! We will all have to pay more for Medicare in the very near future, but I doubt that it will add up to 23% of income!

  • Paul

    Depends on what it’d cost me and what it’d get me.

  • Tanya Hermann

    Yes, I’d sign up for Medicare. But I’d rather sign up for the same amazing free health care program all of Congress gets while serving and after they leave until they die. If Congress’ health care program is good enough for all of Congress, it’s good enough for the rest of us! If we can’t have what they have then they all need to be dropped off of the what Congress gets and they need to sign up for the same health care program that is finally passed.

  • Deb Brattlof

    Everyone wants it but who/how is going to pay for it? If we are worried about paying for Medicare for the baby boomers who will be retiring, how can we afford for the whole country to be on it? Don’t imploy wishful thinking and don’t be fooled by untruthful politicians, if we go that route, there has to be rationing. (And if there is going to be rationing, there has to be tort reform.) And that may be fine as long as you understand that.

    Also, as someone already mentioned, Medicare is not fair and equal across the country. As I learned from some local newspaper articles back when Hilary Clinton was working on the Clinton Healthcare plan, Medicare benefits and payments are organized by region. It was set up that way under Johnson. To get the representatives of the big population states (NY, CA, FL) to vote for it, he promised them better benefits and payments. MN’s pay more for co-pays and deductibles and our hospitals and doctors get reimbursed less. MN is in a region with ND,SD, MT -not alot of political pull there. A single payer sounds great, especially to simplify the paper work for everyone (patients and doctors/hospitals) but I just don’t want the government doing it. When its the government, it’s political and when it’s political, it’s not fair.

  • Tim Nelson

    No. I prefer not having health insurance.

  • Erin, Mpls MN

    Absolutely! We need to level the health care playing field. I would love to opt into a program that is available to everyone. The only one available to me is the cheapest one with really poor coverage.

  • Sandra H Peterson

    YES, ABSOLUTELY.

    The only people now with SECURE health insurance in the USA today are senior citizens. The rest of us must live in fear of loss of insurance completely or denial of care. High premiums, deductibles and copays are too much money for too many.

    I want HEALTH CARE SECURITY for myself and for EVERYONE!

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