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  • Immediate Medicare Reforms Could Slash Nation's Debt

    When it comes to the super-committee’s duty to reform Medicare, you’ll likely to hear the same tired and unsuccessful methods for lowering Medicare’s soaring costs: raising taxes, manipulating payment formulas, or making even deeper payment cuts to doctors and hospitals.

    The best way to reform Medicare is transform it into a premium-support program, which provides a defined contribution to seniors’ chosen health plans, which include a variety of private plans as well as traditional Medicare fee-for-service. This approach — based on injecting consumer choice and competition into Medicare — has a long history of bipartisan support, going back to the early 1980s.

    Congress could adopt this approach through a two-stage, ten-year structural reform, which the Heritage Foundation outlined in its long-term deficit plan, “Saving the American Dream.” When compared with the Congressional Budget Office’s baseline, Heritage’s two-stage Medicare reform plan would result in $9.4 trillion in savings by 2035.

    During the initial five-year transition period, Congress could make immediate changes to help secure the program’s fiscal solvency. Calculations from Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis show the initial reforms would result in nearly $299 billion in savings. These savings could eliminate shortfalls in the Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund — which CBO estimates to go broke by 2020—and “fix” the Medicare physician payment formula, which threatens a 30 percent payment cut next year to doctors who see Medicare patients.

    Read the rest of this column and find out what Congress could do right now at National Review Online.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Immediate Medicare Reforms Could Slash Nation's Debt

    1. Bobbie says:

      Absolute reason for immediate implementation. Please, you guys, don't fall into this guy's crooked lap! Please save America from siege! Everything is deliberate and in disorder. It's up to you to stop it!!! Let the American peoples' Constitution guide your way! Half the Americans today, don't even know what America's freedom is…

      Please be tough and stand strong!! America(ns) can't wait!

    2. steve h says:

      Dr. Moffit,

      Wouldn't premium support just end up shifting more costs onto beneficiaries?

      Isn't the biggest issue slowing the growth of health care costs – the biggest threat to our economic security down the road? Medicare and Medicaid are growing at a slower pace than private insurance – but what can we do to slow all health care costs even further?

      Premium support doesn't seem to address this issue, but appears to just shifts costs.

      • Guest says:

        Premium support will bring COMPETITION into the equation, which will lead to more efficiency, which will lower costs.

        And it really is that simply. Because the more government intervenes, the more prices will go up.

        Just look at the history of the world. Any time period, any government model…the more government is involved, the less efficent the system.

        • steve h says:

          It's a good sounding argument, but it's false. Medicare and Medicaid cost less per person than private insurance and have a slower rate of growth than private insurance. The evidence shows your argument is wrong.

          If COMPETITION leads to more efficiency and lower costs – then you must be in full support of the 'exchange' created by health reform law – since that is a place where all private insurance can compete with each other.

    3. Alozarkman says:

      Need to attack all of the graft and corruption in this program…then again that is what politics is all about. Get into power so YOU can enrich yourself. Just ask the Democrats they are experts.

    4. sbauthor says:

      Excellent article, Dr. Moffit. Regarding this section:

      "At the time of its enactment, Clinton Administration officials absurdly claimed that Section 4507 liberalized private contracting in Medicare. In fact, it imposed an unprecedented and unique restriction on the right of Medicare patients to spend their own money on lawful medical services provided by a doctor of their choice. Mark Pauly, a prominent health care economist at the University of Pennsylvania, has observed: “In contrast to people with private insurance, people on Medicare cannot pay with their own money for something that is more medically valuable to them than it is to the Medicare bureaucracy.”[61]"

      It's important to note that the same Clinton era rules have stipulated that those American seniors who would prefer to opt out of Medicare entirely in order to pursue their own private health insurance, must also opt out of receiving their Social Security benefits, even though they have contributed to Social Security throughout their working years. In fact, if a senior has been receiving Social Security benefits already, and later decides to opt out of Medicare to pursue private treatment, he or she must pay back the federal government for all prior Social Security benefits he or she has received as well! This is what the current Medicare Lawsuit is all about, and Sen. Jim DeMint has introduced a bill in the Senate to break the relationship between Medicare and Social Security.

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