Op-Ed(s) of the Day: A back and forth on market-based Medicare

This op-ed jumped out at Kerri today:

In The New York Times, David Brooks called Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan “the best thing the Romney-Ryan campaign has going for it.”

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that if Ryan-Wyden had been in place between 2006 and 2009, costs might have come down by around 9 percent with no reduction in benefits. Under a demonstration project in Denver in the 1990s, private plans bid 25 percent to 38 percent less than government-determined payment rates.

Matthew Yglesias says in Slate that that Brooks is overlooking one important part of contracting Medicare services out to private health insurance companies: Such “market-based” approaches like Ryan’s are “a market for political influence.”

Right now both the elderly and health care providers lobby for higher Medicare spending. Creating a new set of Medicare sub-contractors whose industry-wide revenue level is determined solely by their success in lobbying Congress to increase Medicare spending is not going to fix this problem.

Ezra Klein weighed in, too. Read the actual Ryan-Wyden proposal here.

–Stephanie Curtis, social media host