Support for premium support

Avik Roy plucks out a key sentence in a story by Robert Pear filled with similar hints at bipartisan support for premium support:

Members of both parties told the [Congressional Supercommittee] that Medicare should offer a fixed amount of money to each beneficiary to buy coverage from competing private plans, whose costs and benefits would be tightly regulated by the government.

I believe you’d have to be an expert or a reader of this blog to see all the key distinctions among the various notions of “premium support” described by Pear. I recommend reading Pear’s piece and, as you do, keep your eye on the following questions. Not all of them are answered.

  1. Would traditional Medicare (the public option) be among the options?
  2. How would the level of support be set and how would it grow over time?
  3. How would the level of support vary by income?
  4. How would the level of support vary by health (i.e., be risk adjusted)? Follow-up for researchers: would risk adjustment be sufficient to prevent problematic selection?
  5. What constraints would exist for what private plans could or must offer?
  6. How would traditional Medicare be governed and how would that governance constrain or enhance its ability to innovate?
  7. Somewhat vaguely, how “level” would the playing field be? To what extent would it favor private plans or the public option?
All of these questions have been addressed in one way or another in posts on this blog. It being a day off for me, I’m not going to try to locate the various posts that do so. Curious readers who can’t find what they need might ask in the comments and another reader might be able to help, or I will later as time permits. They’d likely all be under the “competitive pricing” tag, if not in the FAQ.


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