Public Finance 101, from Uwe Reinhardt:
Comparing Ryan's Medicare Plan to What Congress Gets: On April 15, the House of Representatives passed, on a partisan vote, the budget plan that Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, had earlier introduced to his committee.... With regard to health care, the Ryan plan envisages a major withdrawal of at least the federal government from the financing of health care in America.... In an Op-Ed piece in The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Ryan wrote, “Starting in 2022, new Medicare beneficiaries will be enrolled in the same kind of health-care program that members of Congress enjoy.” He repeated that assertion on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on April 10, when he said, “For future generations, what we are proposing is a personalized Medicare, a Medicare system that works exactly like the health care I have as a member of Congress and federal employees have.”
Exactly? I beg to differ.
There is a huge difference.... [T]he F.E.H.B.P. is best described as a typical employer-sponsored health insurance plan. The federal government’s – that is, taxpayers’ – annual contribution to the premiums paid to competing private insurers by employees and members of Congress would rise in step with the average premiums charged by the private insurers. These premiums have been rising over time more or less in step with the overall increase in per-capita health spending in this country.
By contrast, under the Ryan plan, the federal contribution toward the purchase of private health insurance by future Medicare beneficiaries would be indexed only to the Consumer Price Index (see Page 2 of the C.B.O. analysis). Over the last three decades, the C.P.I. has grown at a much slower rate than per-capita health spending, especially since 2000....
The specific proposals aside, does the Ryan plan offers anything to control overall health-care spending?
No, nor does that appear to have been Mr. Ryan’s objective.
As the Congressional Budget Office observed, “Private plans would cost more than traditional Medicare because of the net effect of differences in payment rates for providers, administrative costs and utilization of health services, as described above.” The data in the table above support that conclusion as well.
Republicans. They lie all the time. About everything. We as a country would be much better off if they simply vanished today, and we had a different opposition party to the Democrats.