The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The real Ryan proposal on Medicare

The Obama campaign is (not surprisingly) trying to scare people with the statement that Paul Ryan's Medicare reform proposals will “end Medicare as we know it.” Of course, “Medicare as we know it” will also end under any healthcare proposals that Obama would support — “Obamacare” diverts funds from Medicare to pay for its own plan. So one wonders, what would replace “Medicare as we know it” under Romney-Ryan?

First of all, note that “Obamacare” was a partisan scheme that managed to gain only one Republican vote in the House of Representatives (and not a single vote from the Republicans in the Senate)! Paul Ryan's plan was a bipartisan plan, jointly designed with Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, thus taking into account ideas which Democrats should be willing to support. (Note that Mitt Romney, while Governor of Massachusetts, had to work with an overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature — so both Romney and Ryan have a record of being willing to work with the other party, unlike President Obama!) And if one looks at the Ryan-Wyden plan, which is described in great detail in a blog post by Yuval Levin, it is hardly the “kill-the-safety-net” proposal that Obama's people claim:

…every senior would be guaranteed to have at least one comprehensive coverage option that cost no more than the premium-support payment he received (and thus involved no more out-of-pocket costs than Medicare does today), and would also have other options that cost more (whether because the offering companies could not manage to be as efficient in working with their provider networks or because they offered more benefits than the required minimum and thus charged a higher premium).

I for one think such a system would be attractive to seniors. And in fact, for most seniors, there is even less worry:

The proposal would also have this reform begin only ten years from now, and affect only new entrants into Medicare, so that all current seniors and everyone now over 55 would be left entirely untouched for the rest of their lives, unless they chose to enter the new system. Thus, today’s seniors have no reason to complain about the proposal, since it would not affect them, and tomorrow’s seniors have essentially nothing to lose by it, since they would still be guaranteed a comprehensive benefit at only today’s out-of-pocket costs.

It is, of course, true that if Romney and Ryan are elected, the plan that would ultimately become passed by Congress and signed into law by President Romney would probably differ in detail from the Ryan-Wyden proposal as it is described in Levin's blog. But it would probably resemble Ryan-Wyden much more closely than Obama's mischaracterization of Paul Ryan's ideas does.

So stop running scared.

No comments: