END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD (42 states)

Time: D H M S

No Biggie...the Republican Party is just killing Medicare this summer, that's all.

HOORAY! FACE-EATING LEOPARDS FOR EVERYONE!!

I don't write a whole lot about Medicare, since just about all U.S. citizens over 65 are covered by it and therefore don't enroll via the ACA exchanges anyway. However, it does come up on this site from time to time, and a good 55 million or so are enrolled in the program, so this little story might be of some relevance:

The Republican Medicare plan is an atrocity

It only takes three Republican senators to stop it.

There’s a lot that you should know about the Republican Medicare plan, a plan that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) hopes to enact shortly after President-elect Donald Trump takes office, but the entirety of it can be summarized in just one sentence.

Republicans want to charge seniors a lot more for inferior health coverage.

Over the last half-decade, Ryan has proposed several different versions of the Republican plan to charge seniors a lot more for inferior health care. There are important differences among these versions. Some would phase out Medicare entirely over the course of many years, while others would merely make the system more inefficient and drive out-of-pocket costs for seniors much higher. The most recent version is impossible to fully evaluate because it lacks important details — like numbers.

As Jonathan Cohn and Jeffrey Young quipped about the GOP’s overall health care package, “Speaker Paul Ryan wants to replace 20 million people’s health insurance with 37 pages of talking points.”

...Despite the differences, however, all of Ryan’s proposals would impose basically the same structure. Republicans hope to repeal Medicare — the single-payer system that most seniors rely on to cover their health costs — and replace it with a voucher. This voucher will cover some of the cost of inferior coverage that will leave seniors with higher out-of-pocket costs than they would have paid under traditional Medicare. As a bonus, the total cost of paying for an individual senior’s care — that is, the government’s share of the costs plus the individual’s share — could rise as much as 40 percent.

Inferior coverage at a higher price — that’s the Republican health plan. And it will become law unless three of the 52 Republican senators who will come to Washington in January decide to stop it.

I'll leave it at that for now. Suffice it to say: This would be a Very Bad Thing. And I would never wish for millions of people to suffer.

On the other hand, for those seniors (or those about to become seniors) who voted for Donald Trump and an entirely GOP-held Congress, a part of me always comes back to this:

'I never thought leopards would eat MY face,' sobs woman who voted for the Leopards Eating People's Faces Party.

— Adrian Bott (@Cavalorn) October 16, 2015

UPDATE 11/29/16: A bit more from Talking Points Memo, even more relevant now that Tom Price is set to become the new HHS Secretary under Trump:

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), the chairman of the budget committee, told reporters on Thursday that Republicans are eyeing major changes to Medicare in 2017.

Price, who is being floated as a possible Health and Human Services Secretary in the next administration, said that he expects Republican in the House to move on Medicare reforms "six to eight months" into the Trump administration.

Privatization of Medicare has been a central feature of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's budget proposal for years, and the House GOP has voted in favor of it multiple times. Ryan himself said last week that Medicare would be on the table in the new Congress, signaling it could be taken up early in the new year. Price's comments suggest privatization won't be part of the first round of legislative initiatives rolled out by the Trump administration and GOP-controlled Congress.