Thursday, April 07, 2011

Privatize Medicare?

I applaud Paul Ryan for having the guts to propose a drastic solution to our long term fiscal problem. That being said, I think his plan misses the mark. People have looked at the case of Medicare Advantage as a proxy for the effect of health care costs when using a voucher system. They've found that costs are not controlled in such circumstances. So there is no reason to think that privatizing medicare would actually slow growth in spending.

Remember: it is not medicare that is the problem, it's the fact that health spending is growing faster than the economy as a whole. If you could bring those two into line, medicare would be fine. The other problem with the Ryan plan is that the idea of privatizing medicare will be very politically toxic which will make it almost a non-starter. Any real solution to our fiscal mess needs to be politically viable.

As I've said before, Obama's ACA addresses the problem of access to health care, but does not reform the way we deliver health care. I'd love to see the Republicans and Obama agree to sit down and work on the ACA to include more cost-control measures. Obama would go along with it, no doubt, because with a bipartisan stamp of approval his bill would be implemented, Americans would get universal coverage, and the system would be sustainable. Republicans should go along with it because that is the only real shot we have to "bend the medicare cost-curve".

Yea, I'm still naive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am on Medicare A&B and carry private insurance policy as a supplemental. Medicare has no problems, always pays on time, not true with the private insurance company. Ask any person on Medicare what they think of it and they will tell you they like it. They don't care much for the part D of it because of hi co-pay and the insane $3600 donut hole. I believe that was done by Republicans to try an sink Medicare. If we were to put all Americans on Medicare the cost per person would go way down, most coming in would require far less attention than the elderly. You would also remove the insurance industry from healthcare. That third party parasite sucks over 500 billion out of the system annually.There would be no more Medicade or Workmen's compensation, all would be covered. The the government could get rates reduced on big pharma's drugs as other Western countries do. Ryan's plan is shear insanity.