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The Washington Post Agrees: It’s Time to Make a Down Payment on Medicare Reform
Posted By Robert Moffit On January 9, 2013 @ 5:17 pm In Obamacare | Comments Disabled
The editorial board of The Washington Post, no organ of conservative opinion, is absolutely right : “Medicare as we know it is not sustainable,” and the “ultimate solution” is structural reform. Bingo.
The right structural reform  is to expand Medicare’s defined-contribution financing (routinely called “premium support”) as it broadly exists today in Medicare Part D to the entire Medicare program.
As the Post’s editors observe, consensus does not yet exist on Capitol Hill for comprehensive structural reform. However, there are several short-term, bipartisan proposals compatible with structural reform that can improve the program, trim the debt, and reduce the dangerous financial pressures that threaten Medicare’s viability.
The Post’s key recommendations—yielding an estimated 10-year savings of $420 billion—largely track The Heritage Foundation’s proposed changes  for traditional Medicare as part of its comprehensive budgetary reform proposal, Saving the American Dream . Among their key proposals:
More reforms, more savings. The President and Congress could adopt two other bipartisan recommendations. First, they could reduce taxpayer subsidies to wealthy Medicare recipients. This proposal enjoys a growing consensus. President Obama, for example, endorsed the idea during the 2011 debate on the debt ceiling. The Heritage proposal goes a step further and would phase out taxpayer subsidies for the wealthiest retirees entirely.
Second, Congress and the President could gradually raise the normal age of eligibility for Medicare enrollment, in tandem with Social Security, and index it to longevity. Most bipartisan proposals would raise the normal age of Medicare eligibility to 67. However, raising it to 68, at the rate of two months per year over 10 years, would yield a savings of $243.6 billion  over the period 2012–2021, according to The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis.
“We’re loath to let Washington off the hook for a more permanent, fundamental Medicare fix,” the Post’s editors write. “But given the uncertainties, political and economic, of that endeavor, pursuing specific incremental reforms is a plausible, second-best solution. It won’t be painless, but neither is inaction.” Exactly right.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2013/01/09/the-washington-post-agrees-its-time-to-make-a-down-payment-on-medicare-reform/
URLs in this post:
 absolutely right: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/repairing-medicare/2013/01/06/1646366c-56a3-11e2-a613-ec8d394535c6_story_1.html
 structural reform: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/11/the-second-stage-of-medicare-reform-moving-to-a-premium-support-program
 proposed changes: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/10/the-first-stage-of-medicare-reform-fixing-the-current-program
 Saving the American Dream: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/05/saving-the-american-dream-the-heritage-plan-to-fix-the-debt-cut-spending-and-restore-prosperity
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