Medicare’s chief actuary: Paul Ryan’s plan could control health-care costs better than ObamaCare

posted at 5:18 pm on January 26, 2011 by Allahpundit

As recently as three weeks ago, Pelosi was still talking up the glorious health-care “savings” to be had from ObamaCare. And now here we are.

Remember in the last post where I said you should read this piece by Matt Welch, including/especially the final line? Read it again.

Two of the central promises of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law are unlikely to be fulfilled, Medicare’s independent economic expert told Congress on Wednesday.

The landmark legislation probably won’t hold costs down, and it won’t let everybody keep their current health insurance if they like it, Chief Actuary Richard Foster told the House Budget Committee. His office is responsible for independent long-range cost estimates…

Costs could also increase if Medicare cuts to hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies turn out to be politically unsustainable over the years. The actuary’s office has projected those cuts would eventually force about 15 percent of providers into the red. The health care law funnels savings from the Medicare cuts to provide coverage to uninsured workers and their families.

As for people getting to keep their health insurance plan, Foster’s office is projecting that more than 7 million Medicare recipients in private Medicare Advantage plans will eventually have to find other coverage, cutting enrollment in the plans by about half.

By politically unsustainable cuts, he of course means “doctor fix,” which is where Congress initially promises to save money by pretending it might not raise Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors and then quickly goes ahead and raises them when doctors complain and start dropping Medicare patients. Democrats used that ruse to great advantage when gaming the original pricetag for ObamaCare.

But I digress. Foster’s testimony today came at what was supposed to be a hearing about ObamaCare’s effect on Medicare but which Chris Van Hollen turned into an attack on Ryan’s Roadmap per the Democrats’ new “Paul Ryan is the second coming of Cthulhu” strategy. So how about it, Mr. Foster? Does The One’s plan actually control costs better than Cthulhu’s? Per the Daily Caller, maybe not:

Van Hollen pressed Foster on whether Ryan’s plan would work, prompting Foster to point out that one of the biggest problems in health care now is that most new technology that is developed increases costs rather than decreasing it.

“If there’s a way to turn around the mindset for the people who do the research and development … to get them to focus more on cost-reducing tech and less on cost increasing technology, if you can do that then one of biggest components of [increasing costs] turns to your side,” Foster said. “If you can put that pressure on the research and development community, you might have fighting chance of changing the nature of new medical technology in a way that makes lower cost levels possible.”

Foster said: “The Road Map has that potential. There is some potential for the Affordable Care Act price reductions, though I’m a little less confident about that.”

Here’s Ryan addressing Van Hollen and reminding the public of one of the dirty little secrets about his Roadmap: It’s actually exceedingly timid about rolling back entitlements like Medicare, which, let’s face it, the GOP embraced long ago. (Remember, one of its lines of attack on O-Care to win senior voters in the midterm elections was that Obama’s plan would bleed Medicare dry.) The left wants you to believe that this guy’s trying to eliminate the welfare state, and yet here he is assuring Medicare’s chief actuary that his plan won’t reduce spending on the program as a percentage of GDP. He’s working within the realm of what’s politically possible, not ideologically ideal. Although, frankly, at the moment, even this isn’t remotely near being politically possible.


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Medicare’s chief actuary: Paul Ryan’s plan could control health-care costs better than ObamaCare

I’ll take “Things we wont hear on NPR or read about in the NY TImes” for $1000 Alex.

DJ Rick on January 26, 2011 at 5:20 PM

paul Ryan is making sense!..:)

Dire Straits on January 26, 2011 at 5:24 PM

BOOM!

Ryan’s plan just Hill-slapped ObamaCare across its ugly socialist face.

portlandon on January 26, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Paul Ryan is the DEvil!!!!!!!!11!!!11!1111!
/Schumer

MyImamToldMeToDoIt on January 26, 2011 at 5:25 PM

“you might have fighting chance of changing the nature of new medical technology in a way that makes lower cost levels possible.”

They are called death panels.

pedestrian on January 26, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Paul Ryan is making sense!..:)

Dire Straits on January 26, 2011 at 5:24 PM

Sorry..:)

Dire Straits on January 26, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Cue ‘all Republicans care about is money and numbers’ rant.

Scott H on January 26, 2011 at 5:26 PM

RyanCare. Sounds good. Looks good.

Electrongod on January 26, 2011 at 5:27 PM

I hope Medicare’s chief actuary is ready for the Joe The Plumber treatment.

Kataklysmic on January 26, 2011 at 5:27 PM

1. I don’t care if it is done by Republicans…. I DO NOT WANT GOVERMENT HEALTHCARE!

2. I DO NOT WANT GOVERNMENT HEALTHCARE!

How freaking dense do they have to be?

upinak on January 26, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Electrongod on January 26, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Good post!..I believe that he knows his plan and the numbers to back it up..Which is more than you can say for the Democrats and Obiecare..:)

Dire Straits on January 26, 2011 at 5:30 PM

“you might have fighting chance of changing the nature of new medical technology in a way that makes lower cost levels possible.”
They are called death panels.

pedestrian on January 26, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Or you could say it is the effect of defensive medicine on unnecessary/duplicative costs.

txmomof6 on January 26, 2011 at 5:31 PM

Why of course Obamacare will save money.

1) insure millions of new people.

2) keep access to medical care the same for everyone.

3) keep quality of care the same.

4) that equals money saved!!!

Monkeytoe on January 26, 2011 at 5:32 PM

The landmark legislation probably won’t hold costs down,

Oh come on!, who cares about how much it’ll cost, it’s all about letting people keep their plan if they like it..

And it won’t let everybody keep their current health insurance if they like it,

Okay, well who cares if people can’t keep their plan if they like it, it’s all about keeping Democrats in power.

We can just see it: If you don’t vote Democrat, the Republicans will take away your healthcare..

/Oppressive-Left

Chip on January 26, 2011 at 5:33 PM

The left wants you to believe that this guy’s trying to eliminate the welfare state, and yet here he is assuring Medicare’s chief actuary that his plan won’t reduce spending on the program as a percentage of GDP. He’s working within the realm of what’s politically possible, not ideologically ideal. Although, frankly, at the moment, even this isn’t remotely near being politically possible.

Boy that makes compromise kinda problematic, doesn’t it?

apollyonbob on January 26, 2011 at 5:34 PM

Good post!..I believe that he knows his plan and the numbers to back it up..Which is more than you can say for the Democrats and Obiecare..:)

Dire Straits on January 26, 2011 at 5:30 PM

and yet it is still government healthcare.

upinak on January 26, 2011 at 5:34 PM

Paul Ryan has real, concrete sensible ideas that work and that are getting the attention of very important players… lets marginalize and belittle him!!!

We need more grandstanding and generic platitudes I say!!!

swamp_yankee on January 26, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Or you could say it is the effect of defensive medicine on unnecessary/duplicative costs.

txmomof6 on January 26, 2011 at 5:31 PM

True, that would help, but would just cut let’s say 10%. The fundamental problems is that when SS was started, only a few percent of people ever lived long enough to retire, and they were a lot worse off than today’s seniors. Modern health care is growing in expense in an exponential manner but our income is not. That will eat up any one time fix. The only question is will individuals be able to make life choices about how to prepare for that, or just lay back and say “I deserve my share.”

pedestrian on January 26, 2011 at 5:36 PM

“you might have fighting chance of changing the nature of new medical technology in a way that makes lower cost levels possible.”
They are called death panels.

pedestrian on January 26, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Or you could say it is the effect of defensive medicine on unnecessary/duplicative costs.

txmomof6 on January 26, 2011 at 5:31 PM

What happens is a new technology is invented and is really expensive at first. In any other area, only people who could afford such new technology would get it (say, 50″ plasma TV’s 10 years ago, for instance) but eventually such technology would become cheaper and filter down to the masses.

In health care, everyone wants it right away and start the lawsuits against insurance companies to force them to provide the new technology. This all comes from thinking that the most up-to-date medical care is a right that everyone is absolutely entitled to regardless of ability to pay.

Monkeytoe on January 26, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Well, Obama is talking about taking over drug research, doesn’t that

put that pressure on the research and development community, you might have fighting chance of changing the nature of new medical technology in a way that makes lower cost levels possible.”

put NIH in charge of drug research. Isn’t that like putting NASA in charge of new air craft design? How would that work?

Skandia Recluse on January 26, 2011 at 5:37 PM

and yet it is still government healthcare.

upinak on January 26, 2011 at 5:34 PM

I think Ryan’s Plan has a lot of “private plan” parts to it..Not totally Government Plan is it?..:)

Dire Straits on January 26, 2011 at 5:38 PM

The actuary’s office has projected those cuts would eventually force about 15 percent of providers into the red. The health care law funnels savings from the Medicare cuts to provide coverage to uninsured workers and their families.

So if 15% of doctors go broke, they stop practicing medicine. Obama wants to insure 30 million (or 10%) more people with 15% fewer doctors to care for them, which works out to 29% more patients per doctor.

So the remaining doctors get stressed-out and rush to a diagnosis, which leads to more medical mistakes and malpractice suits and enriches trial lawyers, while Grandma can’t find a doctor, so she takes a pain pill and falls asleep…permanently.

But isn’t Obama just wonderful? I’m tingling and fainting!

/Chris Matthews off

Steve Z on January 26, 2011 at 5:40 PM

We need more grandstanding and generic platitudes I say!!!

swamp_yankee on January 26, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Okay… without belittling and such. TARP comes to mind. Where has that landed us, the taxpayer?

upinak on January 26, 2011 at 5:40 PM

And Ryan’s not running in 2012…I suggest we send him polite, but firm, letters urging him to rethink that position.

englishqueen01 on January 26, 2011 at 5:41 PM

I think Ryan’s Plan has a lot of “private plan” parts to it..Not totally Government Plan is it?..:)

Dire Straits on January 26, 2011 at 5:38 PM

It will still be government run. The only thing the Liberals are “freaking” out about is that it isn’t “their” idea!

It sound good in theory…. yet, how many theories usually bomb like a missile?

upinak on January 26, 2011 at 5:42 PM

The Adults have taken charge. Viva SMART POWER!

CynicalOptimist on January 26, 2011 at 5:42 PM

upinak on January 26, 2011 at 5:40 PM

Every single cent of TARP has been paid back with interest. It didnt actually cost the taxpayer anything.

swamp_yankee on January 26, 2011 at 5:42 PM

Every single cent of TARP has been paid back with interest. It didnt actually cost the taxpayer anything.

swamp_yankee on January 26, 2011 at 5:42 PM

with interest from where? Give me a break. If Ryan was such a great economist who was all for fiscal conservativism, why did he vote for it to begin with?

upinak on January 26, 2011 at 5:44 PM

upinak on January 26, 2011 at 5:42 PM

Nice post..But you know that Medicare is not going to become private..I think Ryan’s plan does have merit and is a good starting point..:)

Dire Straits on January 26, 2011 at 5:46 PM

upinak on January 26, 2011 at 5:44 PM

TARP was an emergency measure to save the banking system. It worked, and didn’t cost us anything in the long run. Porkulus was completely different.

pedestrian on January 26, 2011 at 5:46 PM

TARP was an emergency measure to save the banking system. It worked, and didn’t cost us anything in the long run. Porkulus was completely different.

pedestrian on January 26, 2011 at 5:46 PM

GM bailout. Not Pork. And it TARP did cost us via the banks raising every freaking thing they do for us. Notice the new fees?

upinak on January 26, 2011 at 5:49 PM

There isnt a single or politician advocating the blanket repeal of medicare and social security. Ryan’s plan begins the withdrawal. It will be a weening process that will take a generation to complete, but the GOP has not been able to do anything in 75 years. This will reverse the tide. People who criticize Ryan because his programs maintain some entitlements are sheer crazy.

swamp_yankee on January 26, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Heh

gophergirl on January 26, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Nice post..But you know that Medicare is not going to become private..I think Ryan’s plan does have merit and is a good starting point..:)

Dire Straits on January 26, 2011 at 5:46 PM

HHS should be abolished!

upinak on January 26, 2011 at 5:51 PM

GM bailout. Not Pork. And it TARP did cost us via the banks raising every freaking thing they do for us. Notice the new fees?

upinak on January 26, 2011 at 5:49 PM

No. The fees are associated with the Financial Reform bill. TARP has been paid back.

swamp_yankee on January 26, 2011 at 5:53 PM

GM bailout. Not Pork. And it TARP did cost us via the banks raising every freaking thing they do for us. Notice the new fees?

upinak on January 26, 2011 at 5:49 PM

GM and Chrysler got money to preserve the union votes, even though there were plenty of other competitors who would have been glad to step in. That was wrong to do.

But the banks are more interdependent than that. It was bad enough that Lehman was allowed to fail. If there were more of those, the whole system would have collapsed and any many, many more millions of people would have lost jobs.

pedestrian on January 26, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Someone is having a good week!

ctmom on January 26, 2011 at 5:56 PM

HHS should be abolished!

upinak on January 26, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Okay I see where you are going..That will not happen..The whole nation would be thrown into chaos..I’m with swamp yankee I see Ryan’s plan as a starting point..:)..Ryan’s plan is way better than Obiecare which should be repealed..:)

PS..I admire your spirit about this subject..:)

Dire Straits on January 26, 2011 at 5:57 PM

If there were more of those, the whole system would have collapsed and any many, many more millions of people would have lost jobs.

pedestrian on January 26, 2011 at 5:54 PM

And lost their savings, investments, pensions and retirement plans too.

swamp_yankee on January 26, 2011 at 6:06 PM

Chris Van Hollen is my congress-critter, and I apologize for that.

But remember this: He’s largely responsible (as head of the DCCC last cycle) for the Republican takeover of the House.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on January 26, 2011 at 6:07 PM

1. I don’t care if it is done by Republicans…. I DO NOT WANT GOVERMENT HEALTHCARE!

2. I DO NOT WANT GOVERNMENT HEALTHCARE!

How freaking dense do they have to be?

upinak on January 26, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Geez somebody’s having a meltdown and clearly missed AP’s comment about what is ‘politically possible.’

fossten on January 26, 2011 at 6:08 PM

…one of the biggest problems in health care now is that most new technology that is developed increases costs rather than decreasing it.

Here’s the solution. No new technologies. Obamacare will do that!

forest on January 26, 2011 at 6:08 PM

Here’s the solution. No new technologies. Obamacare will do that!

forest on January 26, 2011 at 6:08 PM

You’re right. No new technologies, no new drugs, no new doctors and nurses!

Yay!!!!! Cost savings!!

darwin on January 26, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Paul Ryan has a bright future, I hope. Very bright.

petefrt on January 26, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on January 26, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Great Post!..:)

Dire Straits on January 26, 2011 at 6:11 PM

but…but…he voted for TARP!

/haters.

cpaulus on January 26, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Actually, Ryan’s plan isn’t too bad for round one. Of course, my plan accelerates rapidly from there.

cthulhu on January 26, 2011 at 6:20 PM

It really is about stemming and reversing the tide. You cant undo 75 of entitlement entrenchment in one or two election cycles.

But if it is reversed, not only will we benefit economically, less people on the public dole means more opportunity for Republican voters. If we can get some of these reforms passed, there will be new pools of GOP voters to tap and the withdrawal process accelerates and reinforces itself.

swamp_yankee on January 26, 2011 at 6:25 PM

swamp_yankee on January 26, 2011 at 6:25 PM

I agree!..Nice Post!..:)

Dire Straits on January 26, 2011 at 6:26 PM

whoops, I meant 75 years of

swamp_yankee on January 26, 2011 at 6:46 PM

According to my Leftist Commerce Clause 101 professor, this “actuary” has no idea what he’s talking about.

/crr6 and 7/8

Del Dolemonte on January 26, 2011 at 6:49 PM

Paul Ryan for President!!

SC.Charlie on January 26, 2011 at 7:53 PM

SC.Charlie on January 26, 2011 at 7:53 PM

Rated 0% by the HRC, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)

Me: LMFAO!

Inanemergencydial on January 26, 2011 at 8:09 PM

1. I don’t care if it is done by Republicans…. I DO NOT WANT GOVERMENT HEALTHCARE!
2. I DO NOT WANT GOVERNMENT HEALTHCARE!
How freaking dense do they have to be?

upinak on January 26, 2011 at 5:28 PM

I am so in agreement here with my friend in Alaska, we’re probably going to have to go pick out drapes or something.

Really, if the government, both state and federal, just got the hell out of healthcare altogether, except to police anti-trust and fraud, we’d have so many choices from the private insurance sector it would be nothing but a buyer’s market, offering everything and more at a much lower cost.

TXUS on January 26, 2011 at 8:25 PM

Good for Paul Ryan… now…

It’s going to take We the People to get his plan in action…

CCRWM on January 26, 2011 at 9:52 PM

Ouch!. That is going to leave skid marks on top of the Admin

hawkman on January 26, 2011 at 9:59 PM

Me: LMFAO!

Inanemergencydial on January 26, 2011 at 8:09 PM

What are you laughing at?

SC.Charlie on January 27, 2011 at 6:32 AM

I had a primary insurance policy before I became medicare eligible. The companies drop your coverage because they know you are MC covered. You then can get a secondary insurance policy to help cover what MC doesn’t. If there were no MC, I could keep the original one policy I had for years. No MC means no govt in my health care decisions. Sounds good to me.

Kissmygrits on January 27, 2011 at 9:13 AM