Saturday, August 18, 2012

Romney's $716 Billion Medicare Ad Campaign

Romney and Ryan have a new ad up explaining that they won't keep the cost controls Obama added to Medicare:

The ad complains that changes made in the ACA cut $716 billion dollars from Medicare spending over the next 10 years. This is true. Most of the cost reductions come from two changes to Medicare:

  • Medicare Advantage: Medicare Advantage is an option that allows Medicare recipients to purchase private plans instead. The program will continue, but previously we paid 14% for the private plans than we pay for traditional Medicare plans. Under the ACA the playing field is leveled. We pay the same amount for the private and public plans, and save many billions of dollars.
  • IPAB: The Independent Payment Advisory board is a an independent body with the mandate of controlling Medicare costs. They are charged with insuring that Medicaid costs don't grow faster than GDP + 1%. Previously, Medicare didn't really have a budget and so health care costs have been growing out of control. The IPAB is there to find inefficiencies and set policies to insure Medicare stays within its budget.
These changes, along with anti-fraud initiatives and other pilot programs, are on track to reduce Medicare spending by $716 billion over the next decade without a reduction in benefits.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have pledged to get rid of these changes. They promise to spend an extra $716 billion on Medicare. 

The Romney and Ryan plans call for a similar mix of private and public plans competing on price. Cost growth is subject the same caps on rates. But their plan doesn't go into effect until 2023 at the earliest. That would mean pissing away the 716 billion dollars with another decade of runaway health care costs. And even then, they don't actually do anything to control health costs. The limited growth rate just applies to the voucher you'll get. The cost of the health plans can continue to rise, unconstrained. Patients will have to make up the difference with their own money.

They plan to convert Medicare to a voucher program. They waste a ton of money in the next decade. Over the long term, costs to taxpayers and consumers continue to rise. And even when it's fully implemented, their plan still costs the government and taxpayers more than the laws they seek to repeal.

Under Romney and Ryan that $716 billion doesn't get us a reformed Medicare system. It doesn't reduce the deficit. It doesn't provide affordable health care to all Americans.

It just allows them to run that ad.

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