Saturday, April 9, 2011

Paul Ryan and Obamacare

Republican Paul Ryan proposes phasing out Medicare--the U.S. federal program for seniors, with few limits on costs--and replacing it with a system in which the private sector will compete on price, but also have the ability to impose cost controls.

Some progressives say this is political suicide; after all, Tea Partiers campaigned in 2010 saying something like "Medicare is a sacred trust; Obamacare is evil."

But: others are suggesting that the Paul Ryan plan is actually very similar to Obamacare when it comes to people under-65. See here and here. The fear of Obamacare is that it would weaken Medicare in order to improve Medicaid (for the poor, with doctors often not reimbursed enough to make them take Medicaid patients), and extend it to more people.

Maybe this is a developing consensus--ensure a huge increase in the people who are assured some access to the health-care system, but allow the private sector to impose price controls.

UPDATE: the wonderful Kaus:

So the difference between Obama’s Medicare and the Ryan Plan, according to Paul Krugman is whether you get your coverage denied by “insurance company executives” or by ”health care professionals.” To the barricades! … P.S.: Like I said, Obama and Ryan are on the same side when it comes to abridging Medicare’s promise to pay for “any care that helps.” …

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