Let's Give Paul Ryan's Medicare Plan a Chance

Medicare is so complicated. It's resisted reform just because most people find it intimidating to understand. But elected officials on both sides of the aisle finally agree there is a problem. Even fans of certain parts of Obamacare -- like laws that prevent insurers from refusing to cover patients with pre-existing conditions -- acknowledge that Obamacare overall is highly flawed. Further reform is needed because if compensation costs continue to spiral the way they have in recent years, funding will dry up. It really isn't a question of whether Medicare needs to be reformed but how and when.

It's too soon to tell if Paul Ryan's plan to put control in the hands of the patient by issuing vouchers to buy their own coverage will work. But it's the best plan we've seen so far. Right now, hospitals and doctors are paid regardless of the quality of care they provide. Under the Ryan plan, providers wouldn't be turning to Uncle Sam for their bread and butter, but to the actual customers -- their patients.

By putting control in patients' hands, you hopefully force providers to compete for their health care dollars. Under President Barack Obama's Obamacare, compensation to providers is dictated by a panel of experts who would set price controls. Unfortunately, that could lead to providers making up the difference by charging non-Medicare patients more.

We need to take the fear out of the equation that is being promoted by Democrats in one attack ad after the other. Remember the elderly woman in a wheelchair being pushed off a cliff? Yeah, like that. Where are the Republican response ads explaining that the poor and sickly would be allocated more money than other claimants under Ryan's voucher system?

It's also important to point out that the plan is changing and being tweaked leading up to the 2012 election. There is talk of making the voucher system optional. Mitt Romney's pick of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate doesn't necessarily mean he's endorsing Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future." It's just a starting point. So dial in, listen closely, and stay tuned. It's critical.

This post is part of a weekly conversation with our Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. To see the original question and what the other writers have to say, see Should Medicare Be Replaced by Subsidies? 

 

Image via Mitt Romney/Flickr

2012 election, barack obama, economy, health care, hillary clinton, mitt romney

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wamom223 wamom223

I thought this was a great blog. It was great to read one with no bashing of the other side.  I have been wanting to research these new boutique doctors offices because they say once they don't have to deal with any insurance companies (private and government) they are able to give better care to their patients.  I know people don't think you should profit off peoples health but they are a business and they do need to make money.  If doctors offices didn't have to spend so much money on employee's to deal with the insurance companies I wonder how different our system would be.

JAFE JAFE

I thought this was a very thought provoking post. It merely states what needs to be discussed and explored without bashing the other side or the other differences of opinion and then getting nasty. I also think now is the time to reach across the isle to protect our seniors and the people in the upcoming years.


I think I've gotten scared over the last 2 years just witnessing what the seniors are going through where I live. Personally. My parents both live in cities where there are plenty of doctors to pick and choose from and who take Medicare but the poor elderly where I live are losing everything. Medicare does them no good if nobody accepts it. My parents are also fortunate enough to be able to afford to purchase Blue Cross and Shield to help with what Medicare doesn't cover.


 

JAFE JAFE

cont.



There are things I like about The Affordable Health Care Act. The pre-existing conditions and I like the idea of keeping your kids on your policy longer but other things are NOT working. The law stating you have to provide it for your employees has really got to be more looked into because that alone has caused businesses to go under. It's good in theory but it's caused the prices to sky rocket and some employers gave their employees the choice of health care and gave them vouchers. That's all gone now. It's really hurt some people who wanted retirement accounts or other "bonus's" more. The health coverage we now "have" to give our employees is the worst we've ever had. When we "didn't" have to provide it, it was the best.


I also think we should be able to "shop" for insurance across state lines. You take the smaller or less populated states and it's sky high. Unaffordable. What good does that do to people who already can't afford it?


Both sides need to give on this issue. Great post.


small... smalltownmom07

Medicare needs reform. HOWEVER, issuing vouchers won't help. That's just allowing seniors with money to get better doctors. My granny is on a fixed income. Issuing vouchers wouldn't help her at all. She can't afford anything out of pocket. My mothers in the same boat. They, thankfully, have excellent doctors. But what if they needed a specialist? And has Ryan or Romney explained how they are going to.do this yet??

JAFE JAFE

What if they need a specialist and nobody will accept medicare in the area they live? Do you not realize smalltownmom that it's not a law that doctors have to accept it and more and more are stopping. What then? What good is it if it's acceptable?

Hocke... HockeyMomNJ

Smalltown - the vouchers are to get private health insurance. If your family is on medicare, they have out of pocket expenses. Private insurance would cover more than medicare.

Hocke... HockeyMomNJ

Smalltown - the vouchers are to get private health insurance. If your family is on medicare, they have out of pocket expenses. Private insurance would cover more than medicare.

JAFE JAFE

People just don't get it HockeyMom.

wamom223 wamom223

Jafe-I am actually really against the part of the Affordable Care Act that allowed kids to be on  their parents plan until they're 26.  Mostly because I think its dangerous to call them kids, and not ask them to take on their own responsibilities.  By the time I was 26 I had lived with my boyfriend for four years and was helping him run a business.  Being responsible for yourself matures you.  Before Obama care we were able to get private insurance for a really affordable price for two people.  I think part of the trouble in this country is people thinking its a good idea for someone else to pick out their health care plan.  It was so great to pick a plan that was perfect for us.  We had to make some difficult decisions but I just kept thinking why would you let anyone else choose a plan for you.  I think we need to make changes to health care at every level but I think the answer is to get consumers more involved.  When you look at the plastic surgery industry things are pretty cut and dry.  You know going in how much your new boobies or your new nose is going to cost before you even go under the knife.  Why can't I know exactly how much it costs to get my kids eyes checked?  That's what gets me, why is it a different code every time with a different price when you've done the same thing the last six times.  I think we all need to get more involved.

PonyC... PonyChaser

Wamom has an excellent point. I think that employers should be completely out of the equation. You, as the patient/insured/consumer should have to deal directly with the insurance company. No taking a bunch of money out of a paycheck before you even receive it. Nobody knows how much they really pay for insurance when that happens!


Bills should also go to the patient first, and then the patient should have to send it in for reimbursement, or for payment. This way, the patient knows exactly how much the service cost, and how much their insurance is paying. I hear so many people griping and complaining that paying a measly $10 copay is WAAAY too much! They truly don't comprehend how much their doctor visit is, or how much is being covered by insurance.


In the end, with something like that, the market WOULD be able to work. Because people would force the prices to come down. There would necessarily be some massive changes.


It won't ever happen, though, because the initial switch would likely be cost prohibitive for all but the most wealthy among us. And I don't see anyone being ok with ever paying for all of their insurance by themselves (even though a minority of people do).

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