Biden’s Medicare Proposal Is Not an Olive Branch, but a Dick Punch

Biden released two proposals today, about which he claims:

Senator Sanders and his supporters can take pride in their work in laying the groundwork for these ideas, and I’m proud to adopt them as part of my campaign at this critical moment in responding to the coronavirus crisis.

Sounds great! Very Olive Branchy! Or, not so much (boldface mine):

So, as the next step in building on the progressive vision for the country that I have laid out across the course of my campaign, today I’m announcing my intention to fight for two new policies that I believe will not only help people right now when they may need the help most, but will also help people find more secure footing in the long term once we have emerged from this crisis. The first is lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60, and the second is forgiving student debt for low-income and middle class people who have attended public colleges and universities…

I have directed my team to develop a plan to lower the Medicare eligibility age to 60.

Under this concept, Americans would have access, if they choose, to Medicare when they turn 60, instead of when they turn 65. Medicare benefits would be provided to them as they are to current Medicare recipients. This would make Medicare available to a set of Americans who work hard and retire before they turn 65, or who would prefer to leave their employer plans, the public option, or other plans they access through the Affordable Care Act before they retire. It reflects the reality that, even after the current crisis ends, older Americans are likely to find it difficult to secure jobs.

Of course, those who prefer to remain on their employer plans would be permitted to do so, and employers would have to comply with non-discrimination laws and would be prohibited from excluding older workers from coverage or otherwise try to push them out of their plans. And the Biden Medicare-like public option — as well as other subsidized private plans available to individuals through the Affordable Care Act — would remain available.

Any new Federal cost associated with this option would be financed out of general revenues to protect the Medicare Trust Fund.

The phrase “but will also help people find more secure footing in the long term once we have emerged from this crisis” is the tell here. He’s not proposing an emergency stopgap measure, but the proposal.

Even thirty years ago, conservative Democrats were proposing lowering the age to fifty. At least, lowering the age to fifty would cover some older GenXers, and older millennials–if they don’t die for a decade–could make it to fifty. Everyone else would either get to join the ACA market where you can buy shitty plans with humongous co-payment and deductibles, or else wait for Godot the public option, which is always just right around the corner but just never seems to materialize*.

But sixty? What’s even the point of making the proposal? The average age of a Sanders supporter is like twelve or something (I kid). Sixty? Might as well say you’ll get Medicare when you’re dead. For those who see Medicare for All as a make or break issue (not to mention do or die…), this is a fucking insult.

Look, no one expected Biden to embrace Medicare-for-All, but this proposal can’t possibly be thought of as an olive branch. God help us if the minds behind Biden’s campaign really are so stupid as to think that it is. “OK, your guy didn’t win, but as a consolation prize, you get… a dick punch.”

It has to be galaxy-level trolling, right?

Biden’s better than the alternative, but he’s not making it easy…

*Like Zeno’s spear, the public option never seems to arrive…

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6 Responses to Biden’s Medicare Proposal Is Not an Olive Branch, but a Dick Punch

  1. Gordon Gowans says:

    Trump could easily co-opt this.

  2. albanaeon says:

    He’s going for the suburban white vote, that’s for sure.

  3. harrync says:

    Unless you think your criticism will change Biden’s mind about something, I think you should hold off until November 4.

  4. JimV says:

    Dean Baker at “Beat the Press” independently recommended the reduction to age 60 in a post several days ago, as a step towards Medicare For All and to see what problems have to be ironed out. I tend to trust you more on biology, Baker more on economic policy.

  5. At his age, 60 is “the kids”.

  6. Darius says:

    Trump will run to the left of Biden… his “supporters” will be making the dementia jokes… Biden’s only real chance (other than the economy tanking so badly as to render it moot for anyone not in a bunker) will be a progressive VP candidate.

    60 and the ACA restored just long enough to give the courts or the 2024 republican the chance to kill it…

    Love the student loan limits too, public universities (IE the ones that cost less to begin with).

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