Skip to comments.Republican plan for Medicare could face years of hurdles: experts (Easier said than done)
Posted on 09/11/2012 8:59:54 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney wants to turn Medicare into a voucher system and President Barack Obama hopes that fact alone will help him win votes among senior citizens and baby boomers.
But health policy experts, including two analysts who first floated the idea of Medicare vouchers 17 years ago, say no such plan is likely to become legislation - let alone law - until after the next presidential election in 2016.
That is because the mere notion of fundamentally revamping the $590 billion-a-year healthcare program, which serves 50 million elderly and disabled Americans, raises a multitude of policy issues that no politician or policymaker has addressed publicly.
Medicare voucher plans call for converting the popular safety-net program from one that offers healthcare benefits to a system that provides a fixed amount of money that beneficiaries can use to purchase coverage from a menu of private insurance plans.
"Could we enact legislation in the next year or so and implement it two or three years from now? My simple answer to that question is 'no,'" said Robert Reischauer, a former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which reviews legislation with budgetary implications.
That may come as news to voters, particularly in battleground states like Florida, Ohio and Iowa, where the Medicare reform plan adopted by Republicans, including Romney and running mate Paul Ryan, is a main target for Democrats who say it would "end Medicare as we know it."
Reischauer and Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution proposed a voucher or "premium support" mechanism for Medicare in a 1995 article in the journal Health Affairs widely seen as the first suggestion of such a reform. On Monday, they spoke at a Washington conference hosted by America's Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group.
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Only thing that will get our “leaders” attention will be to crash into the wall at 70 mph.
Oh. You mean like Obamacare
WHICH WAS PASSED BY LEGISLATORS WHO DID NOT EVEN BOTHER TO READ THE DAMNED ABORTION OF THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS!
But, hey. NOW we have to have SERIOUS discussions about how this is going to affect people.
This makes me want to puke.
OK. Let’s allow Medicare to go broke.
In other words...Democrats will stand in the way of ANY actual reform. Republicans will need Super Majority in both Houses to pass then the Supreme Court will be a coin flip...(Which is why lib media are trying to supress Republican voter enthusiasm....they know Barry is toast but if the Republicans don’t control House and Senate nothing will be done)
So, if Medicare voucher programs will take years to implement, then how does that square with HHS starting a pilot voucher program last week for 2 million people on Medicare?
Free markets work best when the consumers are well informed. This is also the case when it comes to politics and health care. I think it’s very important to disclose exactly how much of medical expenditure in the US, both privately and by the government, is spent on physicians, nurses, devices, medicines, equipment, and administration costs. In other words, instead of having medicare, or the insurance company etc. just cut the total payment for a given treatment, diagnosis, or procedure etc., they should have to choose what part of the payment they are going to cut.
If they think the physicians fee (e.g. often less than $500 for an extensive procedure) is reasonable, but think that the administrative costs, or the hospital per day costs, or the costs for anything are too high - then they should have the option of specifically cutting payment for those costs. The same goes for the consumer (i.e. they should be able to breakdown exactly where their health care dollars go).
I’m very serious about this. Part of the reason costs have gone through the roof is because we now have giant hospital bureaucracies, with a high percentage of people doing nothing directly involved in patient care. Yes, you need good administrators, but every aspect of health care delivery should be individually examined to insure the most effective and economical health care.