And be ready to repeat and explain over and over until November:
Mr. Ryan knew as everyone who knows the budget knows that the federal balance sheet can’t be improved by zeroing out foreign aid to Mozambique and arts funding for off-off-off Broadway plays. Medicare is such a large share of spending, and growing so much faster than any other item, that fiscal reform must include the popular entitlement.
(Via Ace, I think slu did it. )
Ryan doesn’t want to throw granny from the cliff; he’s no radical. He want to keep medicare THE SAME for those currently enrolled, or just about to be enrolled. This pisses off the Visogoth conservatives, but for those with folks currently on medicare – unless we honestly to start killing off the elderly I see no alternative. Ryan wants to change is for FUTURE recipients. This isn’t radical.
The core problem is that open-ended Medicare, which spends one of five dollars in health care, buys services whose costs are rapidly increasing. It is a “defined benefit.” Mr. Ryan wants to move to a “defined contribution,” where seniors would get a fixed-dollar subsidy to buy private insurance. Seniors who desire more generous benefits would pay at the margin. This shift to “premium support,” akin to the private-sector transition to 401(k)s from pensions, would change the incentives in health care and make medicine more accountable to patient choice.
Today, Medicare’s arbitrary fee-for-service price controls pay the best hospitals and the worst hospitals equally, regardless of quality or value. Innovators who deliver better care at a lower cost are rarely rewarded, as they would be in any other industry. Under premium support, networks of providers would be competing for consumers and become more efficient over time, instead of billing taxpayers for their current negative rate of productivity.
The WSJ goes point-by-point on the history/timeline of the Ryan medicare plan, and the truth is a far cry from what liberals are claiming. Shocker. Ryan advocates premium support, which liberals claim will leave seniors high and dry when costs rise.
Which ignores the idea that changing the manner in which the users act, will result in changes in the system.
Mr. Ryan’s critics claim to be technocrats, but they retain more faith in central planning than the empirical evidence supports. Their objections are really false fronts for their anti-market ideology of price setting and government control.
The reality is that the status quo that Democrats pretend is an alternative to “privatization” is already irretrievably gone and Medicare is already changing, for worse or for far worse. The Affordable Care Act pegs Medicare spending to the growth of the economy plus 1% with the crude across-the-board cuts to providers identified by Mr. Foster. A bureaucratic panel of 15 men and women will enforce the cap by decreeing how medicine should be practiced and how doctors and hospitals are organized.
The alternative … the non-math solution … The Obama future …
Graph from Heritage.org.