Tag Archives: Mitt Romney

Explaining the Medicare fight in a nutshell

Just about every major news outlet has done a “fact check” on the Medicare wars that erupted after Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate. And there’s a chance that you are still confused.

Core Topics
Health Reform
Aging
Other Topics

So here’s a very, very simple – maybe overly simple – boiled down way of thinking about it. Both approaches are complicated, and there are a zillion caveats to what I’m  about to tell you.  But it’s a useful way of thinking about it for those of you who are still trying to work it out in your own head before you explain it to your readers/listeners/viewers.

Both President Obama and the Ryan budget cut the rate of growth of Medicare. Both tie Medicare growth to the growth of the overall economy. But they do it in very different ways.

Obama cuts health care providers* and relies on still unproven new health care delivery models like accountable care organizations to “bend the cost curve.” Beneficiaries are by and large untouched (they actually get some new benefits under the health law). But if Medicare costs still rise faster than the target rate, there’s a backup.  The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) makes recommendations on how to cut providers (not benefits) and bring spending in line. Continue reading