National Economics and business columnist Mike Hiltzik writes in the Los Angeles Times that House Speaker Paul Ryan is determined to gut Medicare. Mr. Hiltzik writes:
“Bursting with the policymaking power that control of both houses of Congress and the White House gives Republicans, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.) has lost no time in teeing up a favorite goal: gutting Medicare.
“In an interview with Fox News Channel, Ryan said: ‘Obamacare rewrote Medicare … so if you’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare, you have to address those issues as well. … What people don’t realize is that Medicare is going broke, that Medicare is going to have price controls. … So you have to deal with those issues if you’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare. Medicare has got some serious problems because of Obamacare. Those things are part of our plan to replace Obamacare.’
“There’s no secret about what specifically Ryan has in mind. He intends to replace traditional Medicare, an efficient program offering guaranteed treatment and featuring rock-bottom administrative costs, with a privatized program. Seniors would get a federal voucher to help them pay premiums charged by commercial insurance plans. Ryan calls this system ‘premium support.’
“But since the value of the vouchers would rise at less than the rate of healthcare inflation, and the costs of private insurance typically rise faster than those of Medicare, an ever-larger share of healthcare costs would land on seniors’ shoulders. In 2011, when Ryan first proposed this change, the Kaiser Family Foundation calculated that by 2022, healthcare spending would consume roughly half of the typical 65-year-old’s Social Security check, compared to only 22% under the existing Medicare system.”
To read all of Mr. Hiltzik’s column, please hit this link.