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Republicans Want Medicare to Cost Less Except When They Don’t

Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” would slash Medicare spending by voucherizing it. Greg Sargent at WaPo:

The cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and other health care programs — including repealing health care reform — are the bulk of the “savings” in Ryan’s budget. Without some sort of mechanism to control medical costs, all these cuts do is shift the burden from the government to individuals. (Emphasis mine)

Meanwhile, House Republicans are also trying to do away with the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a provision of the Affordable Care Act that would

control excessive Medicare cost increases by forcing cuts on service providers, unless Congress overrides the board’s recommendations. The board is explicitly forbidden from rationing care, shifting costs to retirees, restricting benefits, or raising the Medicare eligibility age.

The cost-cutting panel wouldn’t swing into action unless increases in Medicare spending exceeded certain levels keyed to the economy. It’s supposed to limit the growth of the Medicare budget, not choke it off.

Nonpartisan government experts are forecasting a period of manageable Medicare costs, making it unlikely the board would have to propose cuts for six or seven years.

The difference? Voucherizing Medicare would hit the bottom lines of seniors, while cost controls would affect the comfortable lifestyles of doctors. It’s actually that simple.

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