Tuesday, February 2, 2010


The GOP has one! Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) knows how to reform health care and balance the budget by 2080. Allow DiA to explain:

Mr Ryan has put forward a serious proposal for shrinking medical-cost inflation and hence shrinking the long-term federal budget deficit. It does so by ending America's provision of first-rate health care to all seniors. Rich seniors will still be able to afford high-quality medical care. Poor seniors won't. They will suffer more and die younger.

Kudos for the intestinal fortitude to stick it to seniors like that. Then again, there's this:

First of all, if you hit 65 before 2021, you still get Medicare, with all of its current perks. You're grandfathered in. So if you're 54 or over right now, his bill is a great deal for you: you get caviar, and everybody younger than you has to pay for it.

We go from paying for things by piling debt on our children... to just gutting the benefits those children will get, while they still have to pay for their grandparents' single-payer health care. But at least this doesn't piss off the current members of AARP. Is there an alternative?

A different approach to solving America's health-care cost problem might involve letting Medicare use its vast bargaining power to negotiate lower rates with the providers of pharmaceuticals; establishing a commission of experts (MedPAC) to rate the effectiveness of medical procedures, to avoid wasteful incentives in the current fee-for-services medical model; and establishing bundled payments for disease management, to achieve Mayo-Clinic-like efficiencies in care while improving quality. Those are the models proposed in the Democratic bills currently in Congress.

Ah yes. That.

(And yes, the benefits aren't gone entirely under Ryan's plan. But they're deliberately indexed to NOT keep up with health care inflation. It amounts to the same thing.)

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