By The Editors
On CNN yesterday, Obama strategist David Axelrod claimed that “most of the experts who have looked at this” have said that Paul Ryan’s plan to reform Medicare would put the program “in a death spiral” and “would raise costs on seniors by thousands of dollars.” A day earlier — as Representative Ryan was preparing to accept Mitt Romney’s offer to join his ticket — Obama campaign manager Jim Messina had said the plan involved “shifting thousands of dollars in health-care costs to seniors.”
None of this is true. Any expert who looks at Ryan’s plan — any intelligent and fair-minded person, really — can tell you the actual worst-case scenario for how much more it could make beneficiaries pay: $0.
The claim Axelrod and Messina are making is based on a hostile interpretation of an earlier version of Ryan’s proposal. Ryan has changed the proposal over the last year, however, and Romney has endorsed the new version. The Democratic criticism, applied to the new plan, is indisputably false.
The Romney-Ryan proposal — which has the support of liberal Democratic senator Ron Wyden of Oregon — would let senior citizens choose a coverage plan provided either by the federal government or by a private company. The government would defray the cost of purchasing the plan selected. The providers would submit bids showing the premiums they would charge to cover the benefits Medicare has traditionally offered. The second-lowest bid would set the amount the government would provide for each beneficiary.
Seniors who picked the second-cheapest provider would have their entire premium paid by the government, and seniors who picked the cheapest would get a check for the difference. Seniors who picked a more expensive plan would have to pay the difference out of pocket.
We have reason to be confident that this arrangement would restrain the growth of costs. A study has just shown that applying the second-cheapest-bidder approach to even the much less robust form of competition in Medicare Advantage would have resulted in a 9 percent reduction in Medicare costs in one year alone. The savings from years of real competition could be enormous.
If, however, competition does not restrain costs, the growth of government spending per beneficiary will be capped at a level a bit above the growth rate of the economy plus inflation. That is the exact level that the Obama administration envisions as well. The administration, however, hopes to reach the target by setting low prices for medical providers and otherwise micromanaging medical markets. There have been many past efforts along these lines, and they have always failed.
Under a worst-case scenario, then, the Romney-Ryan plan costs senior citizens no more than current law. It offers the hope of doing considerably better: of reining in the costs of Medicare, the principal cause of long-term debt disaster, without sacrificing patient choice, the quality of health care, or medical innovation.
Republicans should explain that they have found a promising strategy to stave off national bankruptcy while improving senior citizens’ health care, and explain also the alternative of bureaucratic rationing Obama has in store for them. If Obama and his aides persist in claiming that the Romney-Ryan plan will increase costs for senior citizens or shift risks to them, Republicans and fair-minded observers should not hesitate to call these charges what they are: lies.
- Seniors… You cannot be for Medicare and for ObamaCare… Obama takes $700 Billion plus from Medicare to help pay for ObamaCare – Romney-Ryan will repeal ObamaCare and replace it with real reform.
- The Democrats have no budget plan or plan to solve the debt problem. Both Romney and Ryan have plans that they will combine. (Harry Reid has blocked a vote on a federal budget for 3-years now. Obama will be the only president to complete a term, spending like a drunken sailor… sorry sailors, without ever having a budget.)
- Nobody 55 or older will be affected by an Medicare changes.
- Ryan will not gut the ‘support net and senior benefits’ system. Ryan’s mom is a senior who lives in Florida and after Ryan’s father died, their family needed and received assistance.
- The leftist ideologues and Team Obama minions immediately pounced on the Ryan pick. Peggy Noonan says “Ryan is liked by pretty much everyone except the far left, so Team Obama and their media minions will try to kill him quickly with falsehoods”.
- The Left, who has no record or plan to run on, will resort to the same lies of Ryan throwing granny over the cliff even though that campaign has already been proven to be false. Word is they are already planning another ‘Granny over the Cliff’ commercial.
- If we do not address the entitlement spending problems, Medicare will be bankrupt by 2024. The National Review featured a great piece on the Medicare
- Entitlement reform(s) are at the center and must be addressed to rehab the economy and turn around the national debt. It is the issue that Team Obama and politicians on both sides of the aisle have avoided for years.
- Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have called for the stop of negativity and falsehoods in the 2012 campaign and for the shift of focus on facts, plans and solutions instead. No more smears and falsehoods… “Let’s take the campaign out of the gutter”, said Romney in Wisconsin over the weekend. Yet Team Obama and their minions have continued, if not stepped up, their negative and attack campaign and ads.
Team Obama and their Progressive media minions have already resorted to the same lies of Ryan throwing granny over the cliff even though that campaign has already been proven to be false. But what else do you do when you have nothing else to run on? We can only hope that Granny and Gramps are a lot smarter than the Dems think they are! And Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan think they are!