Ryan’s Health Solutions Show Why Republicans Can’t Win Elections

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AK Forty Seven, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/the-...lutions-show-why-republicans-t-214837614.html

    Ryan’s Health Solutions Show Why Republicans Can’t Win Elections

    By Peter Morici

    Republicans are losing elections they could win by slavishly clinging to untenable solutions for skyrocketing federal health care costs that voters reject.

    The House Budget Committee, chaired by Paul Ryan, is drafting a plan to balance the budget in 10 years. That requires lowering the trajectory of Medicaid and Medicare costs, which account for 24 percent of federal spending.

    He proposes offering seniors the choice of a subsidy to buy private insurance or continuing in the existing Medicare system, and giving the states block grants to manage Medicaid.

    Conservatives believe seniors could shop for health insurance, as they do for groceries, to drive down prices. The states, freed from excessive federal oversight, could similarly drive down costs.

    That’s absolute fantasy.

    Seniors would confront large insurance companies armed with too little information, and limited choices or monopolies when they purchase drugs and hospital care.

    Already, large employers operate in a similar market space—free to negotiate with health insurance companies—and even they have not been able to harness rising health insurance premiums.

    Granny will not do any better than GM jawboning Humana and Walgreens. Federal Medicare spending could only be cut by providing inadequate subsidies that would require seniors to pay much larger premiums and out-of-pocket costs than they currently bear with traditional Medicare.

    Similarly, it is doubtful that the states, acting individually, can do a better job of negotiating reimbursement rates for Medicaid services for the poor than does the federal government. In fact, the Ryan solution could drive up prices, because providers could play off states against each other.

    The Ryan approaches were incorporated into the 2012 GOP presidential platform and rejected by voters.

    If the House budget plan incorporates these approaches, Republican Senators will be forced to choose between supporting those or abandoning the House budget in favor of Senate Democrats’ plans for higher taxes. That could prove poisonous for Republican Senators seeking reelection and House Republicans considering runs for Senate seats.

    Sometimes markets don’t work—that’s why we don’t have private fire departments selling subscriptions and taxi fares are regulated in major cities. Every other major industrialized country has given up relying on competition to harness health care costs.

    When confronted by those facts, conservatives often point to single provider systems in Britain where some citizens complain about long lines and inferior care.

    Germany has a private provider system quite similar to the one evolving with Obama Care—everyone has to play and most folks are covered by mandatory government-subsidized, employer-based insurance; however, unlike Obama Care, that system aggressively regulates prices through private-sector consensus building.

    Germany caps health care spending, and sets provider prices through a complex system of private sector negotiations that divides up the pie.

    Americans spend nearly $10,000 per person on health care, while the Germans spend half as much. By most measures, German health care is as good or superior to what Americans receive.

    Just like the government doesn’t always know best, markets and competition don’t always contain costs effectively and provide the best outcomes.

    Germans get it but conservative Republicans don’t.

    Moreover, a German solution, by costing the federal government so much less, streamlining the morass of regulations and reporting requirements, better engaging private providers, and reducing federal and state costs, would actually reduce and better limit the bureaucratic burdens insurance companies and government agencies impose on health care providers.

    As long as unbending conservatives like Paul Ryan control Republican thinking on fiscal policy, the GOP will not offer solutions to the nation’s budget woes that attract popular support, it won’t win back the Senate, and it faces terrible difficulties winning the presidency.

    Peter Morici is an economist and professor at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, and widely published columnist.
  2. To democrats Ryan is the gift that keeps on giving :)

    Thanks for giving this gift to Dems to use in 2014 Paul :)
  3. http://www.newrepublic.com/article/112643/paul-ryan-budget-2013-path-prosperity-looks-lot-last-one#

    Paul Ryan Has Learned Nothing From His Loss His new 'Path to Prosperity' budget looks a lot like the last one

    Paul Ryan has released his new budget proposal, "The Path to Prosperity." It looks almost exactly like his old budget proposal. Really—go back and read the article I wrote one year ago, when the Wisconsin congressman introduced his budget proposal for the 2013 fiscal year, which he also called "The Path to Prosperity.” I said that proposal would take health insurance away from tens of millions of people, that it would starve government of resources to conduct everyday business, that it would take vital support away from low-income Americans, and that its promise of deficit reduction was illusory. Every one of those descriptions is equally valid today.

    That tells us a lot about Ryan’s priorities—and how little interest he and his allies have in moderating their views, even though the public rejected them last year.1 Imagine Walter Mondale returning to Congress in 1985 and proposing a budget that undid President Reagan's agenda and reduced deficits by raising taxes on the middle class—in other words, the exact same thing he’d proposed in his losing campaign for the presidency. That will give you some idea of what Ryan is proposing, although Mondale's proposals didn't require the same rhetorical and mathematical games to show budget savings.

    The headline Ryan wants you to read is that he's proposing to balance the budget by 2023—that is, a decade from now. Unless the analysts I consulted are missing something, as sometimes happens, this promise does not mean much. Ryan wants to simplify individual income taxes with just two rates: 25 percent and 10 percent. But lowering rates severely reduces the government’s revenue. To achieve the deficit reduction Ryan has in mind, and lower rates as he's proposing, Ryan proposes to "simplify" the tax code, which is a euphemism for closing loopholes. But he doesn’t specify which loopholes he would close—perhaps because he couldn’t achieve the savings he needs without closing loopholes that would affect the middle class.

    You may recall that the Romney-Ryan campaign agenda had a similar proposal, for lower rates offset by fewer loopholes, which analysts widely panned as mathematically unrealistic. Ryan's budget may be even less credible, because it would cut taxes from a higher level (the highest rate is now 39 percent, rather than 35, because of the January tax deal) and to a lower level (Romney's proposal reduced higher rates to 28 percent, not 25).2

    But the real focus of Ryan’s new budget proposal, like his previous one, is to dramatically reduce spending. The effort starts with a plan to transform Medicare into a voucher scheme. Ryan and his supporters don’t like the word "voucher" because it implies that Ryan’s Medicare reforms would undermine the guarantee of comprehensive health benefits that Medicare has traditionally provided to America’s seniors. But the implication is correct. As of 2024, people who reach retirement age would no longer get government insurance. Instead, they would get a voucher, which they would then use to buy insurance. Year after year, the voucher’s value would rise at a pre-determined pace. And if the voucher weren’t big enough to pay for decent benefits? The last Ryan budget never explained how such a scheme would protect seniors in those cases. The new Ryan budget doesn’t either. Most likely, some if not most America’s seniors would end up having to make up the difference on their own dime.

    Ryan’s proposed changes to Medicaid get far less attention. But those changes would be even more profound. Today, Medicaid guarantees a set of benefits to everybody who meets the program’s eligibility requirements, and the federal government promises to pick up the majority of the funding, no matter the cost. Ryan’s budget would end those guarantees. The federal government would write states a check, based on a pre-determined formula, and give states more flexibility over how to spend the money. Problem is, Ryan would also dramatically reduce the programs’ funding. A 2012 analysis of Ryan’s previous proposal, produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation and conducted by researchers at the Urban Institute, concluded that between 14 and 20 million people would lose health insurance as a result.

    By the way, that figure doesn’t include an additional 17 million people the researchers estimated would lose Medicaid—plus a roughly equal amount who would lose government-subsidized private insurance—because Ryan's budget assumes the unlikely repeal of Obamacare’s coverage expansions.

    All of this was in the last Ryan budget. The same goes for Ryan’s proposal for food stamps, which now goes by the name Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Like his plan for Medicaid, Ryan wants to end its entitlement status and turn it into a block grant. As many as 10 million people would have lost food assistance under Ryan’s last proposal, according to an analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Ryan also has renewed his call for much lower “discretionary spending,” which is spending that doesn’t renew automatically like the entitlements do—think of food inspections, border control, housing assistance, pretty much any spending that requires regular congressional authorization. Ryan would protect defense spending from these cuts, meaning he needs larger cuts everywhere else. Last year I described Ryan’s budget as “effectively eliminating” these discretionary-spending programs. In retrospect, that was overstated. It would merely devastate those programs. As Ezra Klein writes, “The real justification for Ryan’s budget and the choices it makes is not fear of a debt crisis but fear of government.”

    The report’s distinct treatment of defense and non-defense spending is actually a great window into Ryan’s fundamental philosophy. The section on defense spending has long passages about the importance of national security and the dangers of intemperate cuts. Rooting out waste is important, the document says, but it must be done carefully. The section on the social safety net has virtually no similar language. A reader unfamiliar with the reality of American life would have no idea that millions of Americans live in poverty—that they struggle, every day, to pay for bare necessities like gas, rent, and food. Of course, if "The Path to Prosperity" mentioned those things, readers might want to know what Ryan proposed to do about them. But Ryan doesn’t propose meaningful substitutes for the support he’d take away. Instead, he puts his faith in the strength of individuals and communities to help those who struggle.

    Many people have observed that Ryan’s budget seems politically unrealistic. That’s true, although I am not sure political reality is as important as everybody seems to think.3 But if Republicans are going to endorse this agenda—and there’s no reason to think this budget won’t pass the House, just like the last two Ryan budgets did—then they should be held accountable for it. This budget offers no hint of compromise, even though Republicans have demanded President Obama offer new concessions to accommodate conservatives. This budget also shows no hesitation about undermining vital and popular government programs, even though Republicans say they want to present a more moderate image to the public.

    Over the next few days, analysts will pore over the Ryan proposal, just as they will the Democratic proposal that Senator Patty Murray releases on Wednesday. Once the analysts are done, they will undoubtedly discover new wrinkles not apparent right now. But the numbers are a lot less important than the overall message. Budgets are statements of values. And with this budget, Ryan, once again, has revealed what Republican values are: cutting taxes, primarily to benefit the wealthy, while savaging programs on which the poorest Americans rely. It was true before and it’s true now.
  4. pspr


    Where's the Obama budget? Where's the Senate budget? No where in site. You can't compare anything until those are out. Rumor is that the Senate budget will call for $1 Trillion in new taxes. LOL.

    So, all you can say at this point is that a majority of Americans want ObamaCare gone!
  5. Obamas budget is coming out in April and The Senates even sooner I think

    I dont think the majority of Americans want Obamacare gone,if they did Obama wouldn't have been re elected when Romney was promising to end it.The people also made it clear they don't want the Ryan budget,Republicans have just lost a few house and senate seats in 2014 due to ryan imo
  6. Lucrum


    After 4 years, why start now?
  7. pspr


    That's odd. Here is the 1921 federal law governing the President's budget:

    31 USC § 1105
    On or after the first Monday in January but not later than the first Monday in February of each year, the President shall submit a budget of the United States Government for the following fiscal year.
  8. Lucrum


    Odumbo and company have no respect for the law or the Constitution.

    They're traitors pure and simple.
  9. I've been wondering wtf is up with that as well :confused:
  10. pspr


    And, on ObamaCare. These results from a Harvard poll are similar to those shown on realclearpolitics.com

    While some recent polls had indicated a lowering of opposition to President Obama's health care law -- in all likelihood, a diminishing of election focused opinion -- a poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health concludes otherwise.

    The Kaiser/Harvard survey found that the law is opposed by 50% of Americans, a sharp increase from December's statistics. The rise was mostly driven by an increase in opposition from the politically significant independent voters -- the survey found 57% of independents opposed the law, up from 41 percent last month.

    Only 19% of Americans and 14% of independent voters describe themselves as "Very Favorable" of the law, while 34% of Americans and 40% of independents say they have a "Very Unfavorable" view of it. A full 47% of independents support repeal of the law, with or without a replacement.

    #10     Mar 13, 2013