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Grasping the Medicare Distortion
National Review Online ^ | August 12, 2012 | Yuval Levin

Posted on 08/12/2012 11:18:24 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

Medicare as we know it is thus not an option. The choice is between, on the one hand, a reform that leaves current seniors untouched for life and offers future seniors a guaranteed comprehensive benefit and more choices about how to get it or, on the other hand, cuts that affect both current and future beneficiaries and yet are still likely to fail to avert the program’s fiscal collapse. Mitt Romney offers the first — a plan for saving Medicare without increasing the risk to seniors. Barack Obama offers the second — a plan for raiding Medicare and watching it crumble.

.............To their enormous credit, congressional Republicans over the past few years have decided that they cannot leave Medicare to collapse and take the government’s finances (and the nation’s economic future) with it, and so they must address the problem despite the standing threat from the left to demonize anyone who tries. Thanks to the creativity, tenacity, and flexibility of Paul Ryan in particular, they have worked through several different versions of a market-based reform of the system, and earlier this year they arrived at one that effectively addresses the key concerns of past critics of such “premium support” reforms — an idea that could dramatically improve the efficiency of Medicare (and so reduce its cost) without increasing risks or out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries.

...........Essentially all of the criticisms of the Ryan-Wyden(-Romney) proposal ignore its innovative combination of defined-contribution and defined-benefit insurance — directing themselves instead to older versions of the premium-support idea — and ignore the fact that it would leave all current seniors and near-retirees untouched.

Thus just minutes after Paul Ryan was announced as Mitt Romney’s running mate, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a statement that Ryan’s Medicare plan would “end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors.” Some Democrats even put a particular dollar figure on that supposed cost shift — $6,400. That figure comes from a (rather rough) CBO calculation regarding a prior version of the premium-support idea, not the Ryan-Wyden proposal that Romney has endorsed. CBO would certainly not claim that the figure applies to what is now the Romney-Ryan plan, or indeed that any such shift would occur under that plan.

The Democrats continuing to make such charges either do not know about the difference between Ryan-Wyden and past premium-support ideas or are knowingly lying. And those who argue that “Medicare as we know it” is the alternative to the Ryan-Wyden proposal are also either ignoring or denying reality. The fact is that Obamacare cuts Medicare by $700 billion over its first ten years to fund other programs and imposes a board of price controllers — the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) — over Medicare to cut costs in ways that (particularly by driving providers out of the business of serving Medicare patients through inadequate payment rates) would reduce the access of both current and future seniors to care. And without further reforms, the Medicare program will soon run out of funds in ways that would either require dramatic benefit cuts or would drive the government bankrupt.

Medicare as we know it is thus not an option. The choice is between, on the one hand, a reform that leaves current seniors untouched for life and offers future seniors a guaranteed comprehensive benefit and more choices about how to get it or, on the other hand, cuts that affect both current and future beneficiaries and yet are still likely to fail to avert the program’s fiscal collapse. Mitt Romney offers the first — a plan for saving Medicare without increasing the risk to seniors. Barack Obama offers the second — a plan for raiding Medicare and watching it crumble.

The only way for Democrats to avoid the political consequences of this painful fact is to deny it, and to insist that the opposite is the case: that Romney and Ryan seek to arbitrarily cut Medicare and increase costs for seniors. In the wake of Paul Ryan’s selection as Mitt Romney’s running mate, some of them have seemed downright giddy at the prospect of unleashing that lie, and perhaps even building their entire fall campaign around it. Many of them surely don’t even know it’s a lie. But it is, and a strategy based on a lie can work only if it is left unchallenged. Romney, Ryan, and their supporters must not leave it so.

Full article


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: abortion; deathpanels; medicare; obamacare; obamaplan; ryanplan; scareoldpeople; zerocare

1 posted on 08/12/2012 11:18:37 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Great article! Thank you for posting it!

“Romney offers a plan to save Medicare without increasing the risk to seniors. Obama offers to keep raiding Medicare & watch it crumble.”


2 posted on 08/12/2012 11:28:58 AM PDT by tsowellfan (Voting for Obama/Biden is like purposely swallowing two tapeworms)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

The political posturing regarding Medicare and other unfunded government entitlements is revealing and emblematic. The Achilles heel of any democracy has always been a decadent dependent electorate with endless demands and skillful feckless politicians who mask fiscal realities and continue to spend to ruination. Of course those politicians expect to be safely long gone before the inevitable reckoning. Historically this has happened in Athens, Rome, revolutionary France, modern Europe and throughout South America’s independent era. Today it is the Democratic Party that has perfected this script in a once less gullible America. Five trillion dollars of additional debt, massive dollar printing and more entitlements in less than four years with a promise of more of the same. Incredibly it just might work. Obama and his ilk may be reelected. That is not to say of course that the country is better. However if Obama is reelected it would mean the country is well beyond the tripping point. Medicare won’t keep anyone healthy.


3 posted on 08/12/2012 11:47:29 AM PDT by allendale
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To: Cincinatus' Wife; zot; Interesting Times; SeraphimApprentice; Alamo-Girl; Hurtgen

CW, Thank you very much for posting this must read and share article to counter the Dem lies on R&R medicare plan.


4 posted on 08/12/2012 11:57:47 AM PDT by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Medicare as we know it is thus not an option.

I question that. When I went on Medicare, I got a form I could fill out and return turning down Medicare benefits. The form was very explicit in stating this was a one time offer and that I couldn't later change my mind.

5 posted on 08/12/2012 12:17:26 PM PDT by upchuck ("Definition of 'racist:' someone that is winning an argument with a liberal." ~ Peter Brimelow)
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To: allendale

“Of course those politicians expect to be safely long gone before the inevitable reckoning.”

That’s what really irks me. The politicians - and to a lesser degree the citizens who vote for them - who seem to have no regard for their children and their children’s children, and would willingly subject them to the problems that anyone with two living brain cells can see are coming. All for a little more power and comfort today.


6 posted on 08/12/2012 12:18:31 PM PDT by PLMerite (Shut the Beyotch Down! Burn, baby, burn!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

“Medicare as we know it is thus not an option. ...”

Good luck opting out....the “public servants” in DC force you to give up your monthly SS check if you try to escape their DeathPanels...

http://thefundforpersonalliberty.org/medicare-lawsuit-update/index.html


7 posted on 08/12/2012 12:21:54 PM PDT by mo (If you understand, no explanation is needed. If you don't understand, no explanation is possible.)
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To: allendale
Historically this has happened in Athens, Rome, revolutionary France, modern Europe and throughout South America’s independent era.

True, with one vital exception: Chile. When Augosto Pinochet became Chile's leader, Chile was on the same fiscal death track with its equivalent of a defined benefit social security program as we have today. He and his people totally reformed it, changing it into a defined contribution system with individual accounts for all Chileans. The result's been a booming economy and better retirement benefits for the average Chilean than could ever haver happened under the old system.

8 posted on 08/12/2012 12:24:17 PM PDT by libstripper
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Ping for later...must read!


9 posted on 08/12/2012 12:35:07 PM PDT by 88keys (we had better get our act together, or Obama's re-elected...)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks Cincinatus’ Wife.


10 posted on 08/12/2012 12:49:07 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Poorer, older, and sicker seniors would get somewhat higher premium-support amounts than the rest.

This is the problem with the Ryan plan. It won't result in savings. No wonder Romney supports it.

How would the premium-support be set for someone with a pre-existing condition or who is "older"? By fiat, apparently, not by the market.

Plus, the premium-support should not be higher for "the poor". There is no rationale for that.

Finally, why wait ten years and then grandfather everyone at that point? That is pure politics and optics, delaying potential savings for two decades.

I can't see how the Ryan plan is going to result in savings relative to Medicare. It may, however, fool enough of us to help get out the Conservative vote in December.

Conservatives won't be fooled, however, so all it will do is lose left-leaning independents.

11 posted on 08/12/2012 1:35:38 PM PDT by Kennard
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To: GreyFriar

Thanks for the ping. A quick approximation of the truth is to take whatever Democrats say and reverse it.


12 posted on 08/12/2012 1:39:38 PM PDT by zot
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To: Kennard
comment to this article on the National Review website:

Whatever the faults of Medicare, the Ryan Plan, written by some of the same lobbyists who wrote Obamacare, is just a "market based" grab of public money for private interests, which will be more costly. The whole blaming game of the structural deficits on "entitlements" rather than Bush's tax cuts without spending cuts is just third rate economics and dumbed down math. Everything but "entitlements" has been "bankrupt" for decades, and both Dems and Repubs have been sucking SS dry for their programs and schemes. Tax cuts did not pay for themselves, as was advertised. The "Ryan Plan", really a Health Industry grab posing as deficit "reduction", openly embraces permanent deficits which in turn will mean continual credit downgrades and more debt. The picking of Ryan pushes the chances of a Obama victory and insures months more of upset denunciations of accurate descriptions of the Ryan Plan.. A majority of the people will be pinching their noses when they vote this year. Oh, did you know the Ryan Plan has a public option? Ha!

"Social engineering on the Right." - Newt Gingrich

13 posted on 08/12/2012 1:59:34 PM PDT by Kennard
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
The two given scenarios are frank assessments. But the truth is, either way, Medicare as we have known it, is over. The number of services delivered cannot be sustained as it has been historically. We can't fund it now without budget tricks and other gimmicks I won't get into, and the demographic problem is driving the whole thing off the proverbial cliff. Except it ain't Paul Ryan at the helm; it's one those preprogrammed models. This scheme, as SS, was fated to collapse one day. Everyone who has scrutinized the concern and is honest will concede the conclusion. Plainly Obama is a phony lying fraud, and will demagogue the issue to his political advantage. I have hopes that R-R can sell their premium support plans, but the "end of Medicare as we know it" is nigh. They understand this but hide it from their base--the dreamy and anxious. Just get past one more election, huh, Barack?

So, I predict, before ultimate systemic collapse, if the R-R plan isn't implemented and Obama's has his way, eventually, due to unavoidable fiscal realties we'll see the Medicare model transform into something very similar to Medicaid. Not structurally or administratively; it's set up in a different way, but will function essentially the same especially from the subscriber's POV. And that's BAD. I doubt we have too many Medicaid victims here, but find one some day soon and ask them about their quality of care. Their experience. I'd like to see a beaten down woman in the "Life of Ethel In The Medicaid Program" in a Florida R-R ad this fall. It won't happen, but would portray the opposition's "plan" in the truest sense.

Too be fair, one risk in the R-R plan is that their vaunted competition model will spur industry wide HC provider consolidation, and so then we worry about levels of care and restricted options. Not a forecast, just a consideration.

14 posted on 08/12/2012 2:59:18 PM PDT by Dysart (You didn't post that. Someone else made that happen.)
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To: upchuck

And of course you are wealthy enough to forgo your SS benefits.


15 posted on 08/12/2012 4:44:27 PM PDT by Chickensoup (STOP The Great O-ppression)
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To: Chickensoup

No, I’m merely getting back all the money I paid in over 50 years. Fair’s fair.


16 posted on 08/12/2012 6:59:16 PM PDT by upchuck ("Definition of 'racist:' someone that is winning an argument with a liberal." ~ Peter Brimelow)
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To: upchuck

if you reject SS you cannot have SS and have to pay back all you have had paid out to you.

Magaog is a terrible thing.

http://thefundforpersonalliberty.org/medicare-lawsuit-update/index.html


17 posted on 08/12/2012 7:02:57 PM PDT by Chickensoup (STOP The Great O-ppression)
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To: upchuck

CORRECTED:

if you reject Medicare you cannot have SS and have to pay back all you have had paid out to you.

Magaog is a terrible thing.

http://thefundforpersonalliberty.org/medicare-lawsuit-update/index.html


18 posted on 08/12/2012 7:43:38 PM PDT by Chickensoup (STOP The Great O-ppression)
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To: upchuck

CORRECTED:

if you reject Medicare you cannot have SS and have to pay back all you have had paid out to you.

Magaog is a terrible thing.

and there is no such thing as fair.

http://thefundforpersonalliberty.org/medicare-lawsuit-update/index.html


19 posted on 08/12/2012 7:44:25 PM PDT by Chickensoup (STOP The Great O-ppression)
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To: upchuck

CORRECTED:

if you reject Medicare you cannot have SS and have to pay back all you have had paid out to you.

Magaog is a terrible thing.

and there is no such thing as fair.

http://thefundforpersonalliberty.org/medicare-lawsuit-update/index.html


20 posted on 08/12/2012 7:44:35 PM PDT by Chickensoup (STOP The Great O-ppression)
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To: GreyFriar

Thanks for the ping!


21 posted on 08/13/2012 8:28:03 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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