Slaughtering the Medicare Cash Cow
August 05, 2010
Austin Frakt is a health economist at Boston University. He blogs at The Incidental Economist. The expansion of coverage expected by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is paid for in large part by anticipated massive savings from cuts to Medicare. It’s amazing that all that fat was sitting around in the Medicare program–adjustments to hospital reimbursements, reductions in over-payments to private Medicare plans (Medicare Advantage).
When Republicans Were Fiscally Conservative
June 25, 2010
Bruce Bartlett recalls the 1990 Budget deal, simultaneously the biggest triumph of conservative governance in twenty years and utterly anathema on the right: Budget negotiations finally concluded in late September. The final deal cut spending by $324 billion over five years and raised revenues by $159 billion. The most politically toxic part of the deal, as far as congressional Republicans were concerned, involved an increase in the top statutory income tax rate to 31 percent from 28 percent, which had been established by the Tax Reform Act of 1986.
A Blue Dog Whistle
March 02, 2010
Ezra Klein has a lengthy, thorough response to the arguments that Republican Paul Ryan has made about the Democratic plans for health care reform. According to Ezra, Ryan make a few good points but is mostly wrong. It will shock you, I know, to hear that I agree with Ezra's analysis. But that's not the reason, or at least the only reason, the article is worth reading. At the end of the article, Ezra reports on an interview he conducted with economist Robert Reischauer: Robert Reischauer is the head of the Urban Institute.
What Obama Is Reading (And, Maybe, Thinking)
November 24, 2009
Both in and beyond Washington, people tend to be skeptical when the promoters of health care reform promise that it will reward efficiency and reduce the cost of care. In a piece that the president himself is said to have circulated in the West Wing, the Atlantic's Ron Brownstein explains why that reaction is wrong, at least with respect to the bill Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has introduced.
December 24, 2008
For the last few months, critics have warned that the economic crisis would force Barack Obama to set aside his more ambitious ideas--starting with universal health care. For some, the issue has been one of priorities. With the economy in such desperate shape, the argument goes, Obama must devote all available manpower--and political capital--to measures that would rescue Wall Street and revive growth. "How much do you want to tweak health care while dealing with bank mortgages?" asks Deloitte and Touche's Paul Keckley.
November 19, 2008
If you believe what the pundits are saying, enacting universal health insurance in the next year won't be difficult: It will be impossible. As the argument goes, it would cost too much money, antagonize too many interest groups, and--given the difficulty of finding 60 votes in the Senate--require too much raw political muscle. Even before Barack Obama won the election, allies were advising him to stay far away from major health care legislation, lest he fail as miserably as Bill Clinton did when he famously tried for universal coverage back in 1994.
April 12, 1999
If the liberals on the just-dissolved National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare are to be believed, the reform plan pushed by its chairman, Democratic Senator John Breaux, and backed both by commission Republicans and by Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey, is about as evil as health policy can get. "They're jeopardizing the health and welfare of frail old people," says former Medicare program chief Bruce Vladeck. "These guys don't want to protect senior citizens from the industry," says Democratic Representative Jim McDermott of Washington.