Monday, November 21, 2016

What Ryan wants to do to Medicare

Last week, Paul Ryan indicated that he wants to move fast not only to repeal the ACA but to privatize Medicare to a premium support structure, as he's been proposing since 2011.

Of course, Medicare is already almost 1/3 privatized, in that 31% of enrollees have chosen Medicare Advantage plans rather than traditional fee-for-service Medicare. And MA's market share is growing year by year.  So why is Ryan so compelled to accelerate the process?

I have a post up at, sister publication to, that aims to answer that question. Democrats generally assume that Ryan wants to shift the costs of Medicare away from the federal government and onto seniors, and I think that's right, but he has not explicitly called for doing so since 2011. His plan is studiously vague, and therefore hard to pin down. But what it would do, I think, along with de-emphasizing traditional Medicare by making it one choice among many on an exchange, is cut the cord that currently binds the rates that MA plans pay to providers to the rates paid by traditional Medicare.  That would accelerate cost growth in MA, which would in turn probably trigger a shift of costs to seniors.

I hope you'll read the post.

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