Ryan’s Medicare Theft Plan



by Mike Stathis

According to estimates from the CEPR, Ryan’s proposal to essentially gut Medicare will save the government $4.9 trillion from 2022 to 2084. However, costs of private coverage shifted to beneficiaries would add an additional $34 trillion more than what would be paid under traditional Medicare.

In total, seniors would pay $39 trillion more under the Ryan plan between 2022 and 2084. This huge sum of money (which is about one-half of the annual GDP of the world) amounts to more than seven times the $4.9 trillion Social Security shortfall expected through 2084.

In other words, under the Ryan healthcare “theft” plan, for every dollar of savings to Washington, nearly seven dollars is wasted due to the inefficiency of private insurance (see the last chart). This additional waste will be paid for by seniors.

Health insurance CEOs command the largest annual salaries of all industries. Yet, I don’t see anyone in Washington addressing salary caps in an industry that is funded primarily through tax dollars.

Remember, these estimated savings come at the expense of denying coverage to millions of Americans until age 67, although they have been paying taxes for many years with the promise that they would receive Medicare by age 65. Moreover, these savings come at the expense of much higher out-of-pocket costs for seniors.

Make no mistake. The Ryan bill represents yet another proposal to boost the profits and control of the private healthcare industry at the expense of consumers. If history is any guide to the future, the media is likely to misrepresent and spin the Ryan plan so that it looks favorable.

The real solution is to restructure the healthcare system. The primary component of such a restructuring would address medical waste and fraud, as well as placing spending caps on various elements of the industry, from drug and device makers, to insurers and hospitals. As I have discussed previously, technology will also play a significant role in America’s healthcare solution. If telemetry, telemedicine and healthcare IT is positioned properly, it will improve cost-efficiency, clinical outcomes, reduce fraud and waste. And it will enable greater medical access and patient choice.

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