Tuesday, August 21, 2012

BoBo Continues to Enable Ryan

David Brooks is at it again. I really do feel for the man. His entire career is predicated on him being the moderate conservative, and his trouble these days is that anybody with moderate in their job title has no business advocating for the current crop of Republicans. But he can’t well say that, because then what does he have to offer but a watered down version of Paul Krugman, so he’d be on the street.
Ths is why he goes and says stupid shit like this:
The federal government would define a package of mandatory health benefits. Private insurers and an agency akin to the current public Medicare system would submit bids to provide coverage for those benefits. The government would give senior citizens a payment equal to the second lowest bid in each region to buy insurance.
Why is this stupid? Because what BoBo leaves out is what happens if the second lowest bid isn’t low enough. From Ryan’s current plan:
As a backup,the per capita cost of this reformed program for seniors reaching eligibility after 2023 could not exceed nominal GDP growth plus 0.5 percent.
If the price of private plans doesn’t grow at a rate of GDP +.5%, the SENIORS HAVE TO MAKE UP THE DIFFERENCE. If Ryan were offering what Brooks is claiming he does, two things would happen:
  1. Medicare prices would keep spiraling out of control, just like the price of private insurance already has for the last 3 decades
  2. Medicare benifits would probably still be just fine.
This would be a budgetary disaster, but an okay-ish humanitarian outcome. That’s not what Ryan is promising, and anybody who leaves out the cap on the payments is either stupid or lying, because with that cap on payments, odds are most seniors would be left out in the cold with no coverage at all.

Sorry Brooks. Ryan’s plan doesn’t control the rising cost of healthcare, it just washes his hands of the problem. Wishing for a reasonable republican candidate doesn’t make it so, and pretending it’s so just enables them to be even more crazy. If you can’t perform even the most basic policy analysis, go get a new job.

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