I’ve alluded to this issue several times. But it’s critical to understanding the economics and seriousness of the Republican proposal for shutter Medicare and have seniors buy private insurance with the (not that much) help of vouchers. Basically, no one wants to provide that insurance. And frankly, why would they? How much money do you think there is in insuring 75 year olds? How many headaches? If you go back into the history of Medicare, one of the factors — in addition to the politics and ideological and social push — was that the private insurers wanted the senior portion of the population taken off their hands. And they still want it off their hands. The private insurance industry is based on getting steady premiums for as healthy as possible of population of people. That’s why ‘pre-existing conditions’ have become such a big issue. And every person over 65 has at least one pre-existing condition: they’re old. Benjy Sarlin explains more about why the private insurers may end up being the biggest opponents of Rep. Ryan’s (R-WI) to phase out Medicare.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.