March 1, 2012

Fred Barnes: Ryan's Medicare Revolution - WSJ.com

Conservative idea or not, it's a good one for control of Medicare costs. We simply cannot afford the present open ended, fee-for-service system that will crash without serious reform.

Where's the Democrat alternative? ObamaCare isn't it unless you love service rationing imposed by government. It make far more sense to limit expenditures this way.

"Advocates of a single-payer health-care system are not happy. They like Medicare the way it is, a defined-benefit plan with no lid on costs and the government in full control. "Their vision of health care is the way Medicare is run today," says health-finance expert James Capretta. It points the way to a single-payer system.

Premium support doesn't. It is a defined-contribution plan, forcing insurers to be more efficient while making their product as attractive as possible. "It's the only way of saving Medicare without subjecting it to harsh rationing," Mr. Ryan says.

Mr. Ryan says the arrival of the large freshman class of House Republicans accelerated the drive for Medicare reform. But it's Mr. Ryan, 42, who deserves the bulk of the credit. He's the top Republican thinker on domestic issues. And he has a keen political sense. He's been on a roll since he took apart ObamaCare in front of Mr. Obama at the White House health-care summit in 2010.

Because of his tireless proselytizing, premium support has emerged as the most sensible way to reform Medicare."

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