Feature

Medicare ‘as we know it’ is doomed

In short, “unless we end Medicare ‘as we know it,’ America ‘as we know it’ will end,” said Robert J. Samuelson in The Washington Post.

Robert J. SamuelsonThe Washington Post

“Ending Medicare as we know it.” By using that stock phrase to terrify retirees, said Robert J. Samuelson, Democrats are attacking Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to transform Medicare. But the reality is that the cost of the current Medicare system ($520 billion last year) is soaring out of control; if it is left alone, it will eat up over 30 percent of the federal budget by 2016. In short, “unless we end Medicare ‘as we know it,’ America ‘as we know it’ will end.”

Ryan’s proposal would provide each Medicare recipient with a fixed amount of money to buy private insurance; doctors would be rewarded for providing more-efficient care to seniors, instead of just running up the bill. President Obama, on the other hand, prefers to cut costs by putting more decision-making in the hands of government bureaucrats. “Which is realistic, and which is wishful thinking?’’ The country deserves a substantial, reasoned debate on that question—not political scare tactics. One way or another, “Medicare ‘as we know it’ is going to end.”

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