IS THERE A PRECEDENT?
Yes. In June 1988 Republican President Ronald Reagan and the Democratic Congress passed the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act, which was intended to fill gaps in coverage in the government insurance program for older Americans.
It was celebrated as a bipartisan success that would provide new medical benefits for the elderly. However, older Americans had to pay for it, in the form of an extra Medicare premium and a surtax for people over 65 with higher incomes. The tax led to a protest campaign and Congress, in another bipartisan vote, repealed it in 1989.
Thursday, November 04, 2010
CNBC says yes. It happened once before, with President Ronald Reagan's catastrophic coverage bill (IMHO a good bill that could be a model for a replacement, unfortunately a victim of partisan politics at the time):