Thursday, May 12, 2016

I'd like to thank Hillary Clinton for stealing my idea

- by New Deal democrat

Three years ago I wrote a piece that got semi-wide attention in the blogosphere (ok, actually it didn't just disappear into a black hole, but still...):

 [T]he median wealth of people in the 55 - 64 cohort is something like $200,000 - but a non-trivial percentage of middle class workers ultimately reach this milestone [of having $1 million in wealth]. 
And you know what they would like to do more than anythings else?  Retire! I know this not only from personal conversations with my fellow fossils, but also through a discussion with an accountant recently in which he told me that the number one reason most of his older clients haven't retired yet is because they are afraid to before they are eligible for Medicare. Or they have to continue to work after age 65 themselves because they need their health insurance to cover their spouse until their spouse reaches age 65. 
Meanwhile, people like David Leonhardt in the New York Times are writing about Today's Idled Youth," describing how the ongoing Hard Times have hit the young perhaps harder than any other group. They bought into the American Dream of studying for a degree, becoming a professional of some sort, and hoping for a decent middle class existence. Instead, they are taking clerical or entry level service jobs, or even worse, unable to find a job.  
You can see where I'm going with this now, right? Here we have the older workers, hobbling to the finish line, but unable to end the race. And here we have young workers, itching to get started, and they can't because there are no jobs, or no middle class jobs, for them. 
And the one thing that would cause the many older workers who have saved for retirement to be able to leave the workfoce, and clear the way for those frustrated younger workers, is guaranteed medical care.
Fortunately, we have a program that provides exactly that: it's called Medicare, and according to those already on it, it works really really well. And it works at much lower administrative costs than for-profit private coverage .... (According to the CBO, Medicare's administrative costs are 2%, vs. 17% for for-profit plans. And Medicare premiums have consistently risen less than private health insurer premiums) . And also unlike for-profit plans, in Medicare there's no incentive to deny coverage.... 
....If you really and truly want to make a dent in the persistent employment problem facing younger workers, allow anyone age 55 or above to buy into Medicare. Charge them annual premiums equal to what they would have to pay into Medicare at their same wage or salary until age 65 if they continued to work. You would be amazed to see how quickly Boomers can still move, cleaning out their offices and cubicles, when properly motivated. And then younger workers could move right in. 
...[This] is a real solution to a real problem....
Yesterday's New York Times tells me:

[A]s she tries to clinch the nomination, Mrs. Clinton is moving to the left on health care and this week took a significant step in her opponent’s direction, suggesting she would like to give people the option to buy into Medicare.
“I’m also in favor of what’s called the public option, so that people can buy into Medicare at a certain age,” Mrs. Clinton said on Monday at a campaign event in Virginia.
Hey, I was just doing my part for the Progressive Agenda.  Nice to see the Establishement come around.  Hillary, can I send you my paypal account information so you know where to send the check?

P.S. to the humor-impaired.  Yes I know the public option has been around for a long itme.  But every once in a while, it's nice to think you may have caused a significant ripple in the pond.