Saturday, June 04, 2011

The Demagoguing of Medicare Reform

I have been struck at the heated rhetoric surrounding Paul Ryan's Medicare reform proposal.  One thing is not often pointed out: Ryan's proposed "premium support" structure is in some ways similar to the plan put in place under President Obama's healthcare reform law.  In both cases, an individual would shop among competing private insurers, on an exchange overseen by the government regulators.  In both cases, the government would provide financial support for the "needy" (low-income households in the case of Obamacare, the elderly in the case of Ryancare).

Why don't we see this parallel pointed out more often?  The left wants to demonize Ryan, and the right wants to demonize Obama.  Pointing out the similarities of their plans might make each of them seem, well, reasonable.  The overwrought politics of health care makes it hard to recognize common ground.

By the way, the esteemed health economist Alain Enthoven had a column on the topic of Medicare reform in yesterday's Wall Street Journal that is well worth reading.