Sunday, September 2, 2012

Krugman on Medicare

Paul Krugman appeared on Rachel Maddow's show Friday night and set the record straight on the Obama versus regressive Medicare program. Obama is proposing cost-saving measures while preserving the program as it is. No benefits are cut, only reduced payments to insurance companies and hospitals. And it's only over-payments to insurance companies for programs like Medicare Advantage, which has low benefits for a huge taxpayer cost. So no more subsidy for that. On the hospital side they have agreed to the cuts to payments because given the increased insurance pool with Obama's program they will make up for the small reductions in individual payments. This will also reduce the amount of patients that show up in emergency rooms without insurance, thereby having to treat them on the taxpayer's dime.

Regressives want to change it into a voucher system with a limited amount. Never mind that the amount will likely be insufficient given one's aging health problems. They'll also have to go out and try to buy insurance with that voucher and how much do you think that will cost, given their age and  pre-existing conditions? That is, if any insurance company will accept them. And there is no evidence that this kind of program would save money. To the contrary it is just the opposite. It comparisons with government insurance the latter always wins in terms of cost with the same kind of health outcomes.

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