Premium support offers best chance to bend cost curve, a reader says
Regarding “Ryan: Plan is bipartisan” (Aug. 20, p. 8), Medicare was enacted 47 years ago to provide a medical safety net for those who were lucky enough to live longer than average. It has become a welfare program, even for the rich, and even for today’s young seniors who will live, on average, another 1012 years after eligibility. Medicare beneficiaries currently pay a rather small portion of their expenses, which has fueled overutilization. Medicare has been paying providers fees for their services without holding them accountable for quality and the health of the patient. Finally, when all of the baby boomers become eligible, the pyramid scheme of taxing younger workers for Medicare is going to bust.
Most reasonable people agree that Obamacare does little to fundamentally reform the system, instead relying on new taxes and penalties, price controls and rationing. Regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, I believe the Rivlin-Ryan-Wyden plan offers a bipartisan approach to real and lasting reform. Many people worry whether the premium support payments will keep up with current medical inflation. Isn’t that the point? More competition among insurers and providers, lower utilization, more patient choice, healthier patients—isn’t that the best hope we have for bending the cost curve?