Without reform Medicare will go bankrupt. So, it is not a question of “if” Medicare will be cut but “how.” President Barack Obama’s approach is to simply gut Medicare’s funding and let the bureaucrats decide who does or doesn’t receive care. Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s approach is to inject individual choice and competition into the program to provide more with less and to let patients, not bureaucrats, decide how to spend scarce resources. Ryan’s approach puts seniors first; Obama’s puts Washington bureaucrats first.
Obama has already cut $716 billion from Medicare to fund his new health care entitlement, and would cap Medicare growth going forward at the rate of GDP growth plus 0.5 percent. Those cuts will run into the trillions of dollars in the second decade under Obama’s program, and will be implemented principally by turning over control of health care decisions to bureaucrats who will be empowered to deny people the care they need.
The Ryan plan implements the same cap on overall Medicare spending, but achieves it by injecting individual choice and competition into the program, allowing patients to choose between traditional fee-for-service Medicare and competing private plans.
Obama’s plan – which has already been enacted – is a guaranteed disaster. If it had been Republicans who ignored public opinion and chose to gut Medicare to the tune of $716 billion over 10 years (and trillions more over 20 years) there would be no other issue in any federal election until that law got repealed. Democrats would be relentless and seniors would be up-in-arms. And understandably so, especially because about 10,000 baby boomers are now retiring every day.
Yet that was precisely what Obama’s health care law did to Medicare. The media is dutifully downplaying the significance of these devastating cuts but it’s actually worse than the headline number of $716 billion, up from about $500 billion already from when the president’s law passed. That’s because there is no credible cost-containment mechanism going forward to stay under the cap other than bureaucrats being empowered to deny seniors the care they need.
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment, a columnist on Fox News Opinion, chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition, and author of the 2011 book Democracy Denied.
American Commitment is dedicated to restoring and protecting America’s core commitment to free markets, economic growth, Constitutionally-limited government, property rights, and individual freedom.
Washingtonian magazine named Mr. Kerpen to their "Guest List" in 2008 and The Hill newspaper named Mr. Kerpen a "Top Grassroots Lobbyist" in 2011.
Mr. Kerpen's op-eds have run in newspapers across the country and he is a frequent radio and television commentator on economic growth issues.
Prior to joining American Commitment, Mr. Kerpen served as vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity. Mr. Kerpen has also previously worked as an analyst and researcher for the Free Enterprise Fund, the Club for Growth, and the Cato Institute.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Kerpen currently resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife Joanna and their daughter Lilly.