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  What Dean Said
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COMMENTARY:

What Dean Said

by James Ridgeway
First published in his blog Unsilent Generation earlier today, 10 December 2009


Dean said he’d been told that the Medicare buy-in for people 55-64 would not have subsidies, potentially making the buy in unaffordable for many intended recipients. Dean said that if this isn’t fixed in conference negotiations, it could be a deal-breaker.

In an interview with Plumline’s Greg Sargent after Reid’s deal leaked, Howard Dean said the compromise–which ditched the public option–amounted to “real reform,” In case you missed it, here’s more of what Dean said in the interview:

  • In one provision that liberals will dislike, Dean said he’d been told that the Medicare buy-in for people 55-64 would not have subsidies, potentially making the buy in unaffordable for many intended recipients. Dean said that if this isn’t fixed in conference negotiations, it could be a deal-breaker.

    “That’s a huge problem that may tip this into being not real reform,” Dean said.
  • Dean confirmed what I reported here yesterday: The Medicare buy-in will be available as early as 2010, a provision he hailed for substantive and political reasons. “They’re making government-run single payer available to people under 65,” he said. “That’s a step in the right direction.”

    Dean added, however, that it was unclear as of yet whether the early buy-in applied to all those without insurance or just those at high-risk (I was told yesterday that the latter was true). He said that if it’s high-risk only, that could also be a provision that falls short of real reform, and noted that the early buy-in would have to be made available to everybody.

    Asked to respond to progressives who decry the compromise for not making government-run insurance available to all age groups who need it, Dean said:
    “The question is, Is there enough of a kernel of real reform in the bill to make it possible for progressives to vote for it? Given the details we know today, I think there is. The group at largest risk is being taken care of, those over 55. There really is reform. Is there enough reform? No. But significant reform matters.”

Born in 1936, James Ridgeway has been reporting on politics for more than 45 years. He is currently Senior Washington Correspondent for Mother Jones, and recently wrote a blog on the 2008 presidential election for the Guardian online. He previously served as Washington Correspondent for the Village Voice; wrote for Ramparts and The New Republic; and founded and edited two independent newsletters, Hard Times and The Elements.

Ridgeway is the author of 16 books, including The Five Unanswered Questions About 9/11, It’s All for Sale: The Control of Global Resources, and Blood in the Face: The Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Nazi Skinheads, and the Rise of a New White Culture. He co-directed a companion film to Blood in the Face and a second documentary film, Feed, and has co-produced web videos for GuardianFilms.

Additional information and samples of James Ridgeway’s work can be found on his web site, http://jamesridgeway.net.

This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on December 10, 2009.
 



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