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Dean Baker on Paul Ryan's budget plan - The Battle Is Over Money, Not Philosophy

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Derechos Donating Member (892 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 01:18 PM
Original message
Dean Baker on Paul Ryan's budget plan - The Battle Is Over Money, Not Philosophy
Ever since House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan put out his proposal for voucherizing Medicare we have seen a steady drumbeat of stories telling us that this is a battle over the size and role of government. This is not true. It is a battle over money.


The basic story is that the Medicare system is far more efficient than the private insurance sector in delivering health care and holding down costs. This has nothing to do with whether we prefer the government or the private sector. It just happens to be true.


This is why the CBO calculated that Representative Ryan's voucher system would raise costs compared with the existing Medicare system. The CBO's projections imply that switching to the Ryan voucher system would raise the cost of buying Medicare equivalent policies by $30 trillion over Medicare's75-year planning period.

This amount is approximately six times the size of the projected shortfall in Social Security over its 75-year planning period. It comes to almost $100,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. In other words, even in Washington, the burden of the Ryan plan is real money.

It is important to recognize that this $30 trillion figure is simply the increase in the cost to the economy of providing health care. This number does not include the shift in costs from the government to beneficiaries. The $30 trillion represents higher payments that would go to insurers, pharmaceutical companies, medical supply companies, doctors and other health care providers because the private system put in place under Ryan's plan is less efficient than the Medicare program.

This enormous waste, and the resulting transfer of income from taxpayers and beneficiaries to insurers and providers, has absolutely nothing to do with whether our preference is for big or small government. The relevant question is whether we want ordinary workers and retirees to pay tens of trillions more for their health care in the decades ahead in order to enrich the insurers and health care industry.
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Aerows Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
1. It *IS* over money
but nothing to do with the deficit. It's about enriching the tiny portion of the population that possess the wealth in this nation, and the corporate whores they have bought and paid for attempting to re-frame the debate.
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Frances Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 01:24 PM
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2. The money and philosophy issues are intertwined
There is one philosophy that says that the government should not be involved no matter how much money the government saves the citizen. That is the Rand philosophy.

If the citizen cannot afford the money for a private doctor, no matter how exorbitant the fee, the citizen should die.

Fortunately for Any Rand who espoused that philosophy, Social Security and Medicare were there for her when she needed them.
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Derechos Donating Member (892 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. I guess I should have included more of the article
but I was afraid my link would be blocked. The premise of the article is that if the Republicans can make Ryan's budget about a push for small government, he is concerned that it could become palatable to a certain portion of the electorate.

"On the other hand, if the public understands that the Ryan plan will transfer tens of trillions of dollars from the middle class to the insurance and health care industries, the plan will become radioactive to politicians seeking reelection."

Baker then goes on to explain how this transfer dollars would work which I provided above in my original post.

That is why Dean Baker argued that this is about money, not philosophy.
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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 01:53 PM
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4. I wish Baker's view would get some play in the MSM.
He's right; which may be the main reason he'll be mostly ignored.
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