Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Medicare and reality

An article in Reason magazine defends Paul Ryan's Medicare plan:

At the rate we're going, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest payments will consume the entire federal budget by 2025—leaving nothing for defense, law enforcement, national parks, highways, food stamps and all the other responsibilities the government is supposed to handle. Either drastic spending cuts or staggering tax increases would be needed.

To insist that Medicare can and should remain just as it is today is either delusional or dishonest . . . .

It's easy to improve health care if cost is no object. It's easy to reduce costs if you can tolerate worse health outcomes. The trick is to balance the two needs. The Ryan plan is a credible attempt. . . .

Democrats have a point in saying what Ryan offers is not as good as the current version of Medicare. It's also not as good as the Big Rock Candy Mountain, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or the valley of Shangri-La.

His option does, however, have the virtue of a connection to the real world. It's a place his critics can't avoid forever.