"Medicare costs are rising faster than projected revenues. Action to close the emerging deficit is inescapable. We propose converting Medicare from a "service reimbursement" system to a "premium support" system. These changes would resemble many that are now reshaping private employer-based insurance.
"Our reform would encompass not just the "public" Medicare program but also the "real" Medicare, which includes the supplemental plans to which most Medicare beneficiaries have access.
"Approved plans would have to offer stipulated services. We review numerous technical issues in moving to a new system that cannot be solved quickly and that preclude quick budget savings."
What Republican Nazi bigot racists wrote those words, this proposal to end "Medicare as we know it?" Ryan? Romney? Gingrich? Goodman?
None of the above.
This is the opening of the so-called seminal 1995 work by two Carter/Clinton-era left-wing think-tank revolving-door types who supposedly came up with "the premium support idea." (Of course, in my opinion, that claim is kind of like Grantland Rice saying in the 1920s that he came up with the word baseball. Healthcare insurance had premium support for 50 years before these retreads supposedly "invented" it.)
According to Reuters these has-beens spoke at a meeting September 11, 2012 where they said it would take a few years to implement the Wyden-Ryan (that is, their own) Medicare reform idea even if the work started now. Which may be why Wyden and Ryan are proposing that Medicare Reform not become effective immediately but that it start in 2022 for people born after 1955. Ya think?
And the interesting thing -- as the illustration above shows -- is that Republicans have taken the Democratic pair's 1995 ideas to heart already... twice. In 1997 Republicans started Medicare Part C. In 2003 they improved Part C and launched Medicare Part D. Using premium support and recognizing the "real Medicare" market, the Republicans built a full-service choice-based insurance offering for seniors that has grown from near zero penetration 15 years ago to cover almost 30% of the market today. And Part D has been the most popular Medicare program ever while coming in 35% under budget. Now the Democrats have disbanded the former and changed the latter in ways we cannot yet figure out (but likely ways that will not be good for seniors).
Meanwhile note that the two 1995 Democratic party camp followers don't use the word voucher in their 1995 article (at least in the abstract reprinted above). But now they can't sneer the word voucher fast enough. Voucher has simply become a Democratic party trick to make seniors think they are going to get coupons like food stamps to buy Medicare. And these two intellectually corrupt washed-up academics are very happy to play along.... even though the concept is allegedly theirs... and is not at all related to vouchers.
-- Dennis Byron