House budget guru Paul Ryan, R-Wis., wants Medicare recipients to replace a government-run program with vouchers so we can shop around and find the best health insurance program to meet our individual needs. I think the best program to meet my needs is Medicare. According to the Time magazine story “A Bitter Pill” by Steven Brill, the overhead cost for the government to process a claim is $3.80. Aetna’s cost to process a similar claim is $30.
Medicare is the largest purchaser of prescription drugs but Congress prohibits Medicare from negotiating drug prices. If Ryan were serious about reducing Medicare costs, he would be urging his colleagues to remove the handcuffs from Medicare.
Republicans want to raise the age for Medicare eligibility. Wrong. Older people tend to have greater medical needs. Allowing younger people to buy into Medicare would bring in healthier members lowering the cost for all.
Ryan is correct that Medicare costs contribute to our deficits. It’s too bad he is pursuing exactly the wrong solution.
Philip B. Scott