Open Thread: What Ryan Actually Says About Medicare

The far left has already started a campaign to misinform the public about Paul Ryan's views about Medicare and how he supposedly wants to destroy the program. (The irony, of course, is that President Obama actually reduced funding of the program by $700 billion as part of his healthcare law.)

Be that as it may, for those wondering what Ryan actually says about Medicare, National Review provides a helpful primer on the congressman's views, noting particularly that the newest Medicare proposal he's touting actually is quite a bit different from his older one:

Ryan has changed the proposal over the last year, however, and Romney has endorsed the new version. The Democratic criticism, applied to the new plan, is indisputably false.

The Romney-Ryan proposal — which has the support of liberal Democratic senator Ron Wyden of Oregon — would let senior citizens choose a coverage plan provided either by the federal government or by a private company. The government would defray the cost of purchasing the plan selected. The providers would submit bids showing the premiums they would charge to cover the benefits Medicare has traditionally offered. The second-lowest bid would set the amount the government would provide for each beneficiary.

Seniors who picked the second-cheapest provider would have their entire premium paid by the government, and seniors who picked the cheapest would get a check for the difference. Seniors who picked a more expensive plan would have to pay the difference out of pocket.

We have reason to be confident that this arrangement would restrain the growth of costs. A study has just shown that applying the second-cheapest-bidder approach to even the much less robust form of competition in Medicare Advantage would have resulted in a 9 percent reduction in Medicare costs in one year alone. The savings from years of real competition could be enormous.

If, however, competition does not restrain costs, the growth of government spending per beneficiary will be capped at a level a bit above the growth rate of the economy plus inflation. That is the exact level that the Obama administration envisions as well. The administration, however, hopes to reach the target by setting low prices for medical providers and otherwise micromanaging medical markets. There have been many past efforts along these lines, and they have always failed.

Read the whole thing.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013