Phyllis Schlafly

Potential for identity theft is great and obvious. This vast collection of personal data surely makes an inviting target for hackers and cyber criminals. Attorney General Bondi wants to know who will be in charge of monitoring the navigators and who will be liable if someone's identity is stolen.

Meanwhile, another possible train wreck is looming because Medicare is running out of money. With 10,000 baby boomers retiring each day, Medicare's own trustees report that the program will "remain solvent" only until 2024.

Obamacare will hasten Medicare's demise. It siphons away $716 billion from the struggling Medicare fund and gives it to a new board of 15 unaccountable bureaucrats who will have the power to control Medicare spending through cuts to health care providers, and that's a sure prescription for rationing care.

When President George W. Bush jammed Medicare Part D through Congress in 2003 to finance prescription drugs for seniors, conservatives opposed the program because it created a new unfunded entitlement. But it's time to take a new look at Part D and study the lessons it teaches.

The price of Part D premiums has held steady for four years. Costs for Medicare Part D are about 45 percent lower than expected, and 96 percent of seniors say their works well.

A study by Harvard researchers found that Part D has reduced overall Medicare spending by $13 billion annually by keeping seniors out of hospitals and nursing homes. The Congressional Budget Office also reports that greater access to prescription drugs decreases medical spending for seniors.

Conservatives don't have to be glad that Bush gave us Medicare Part D, but they can point to Part D's lessons that may help us for future reform. Part D is different from the rest of Medicare because it relies on choice and competition rather than top-down government control.

Unlike other government health programs, Part D is not operated by federal officials. Numerous private insurers offer prescription drug plans, competing on price, service and offerings, and seniors can shop around to choose the plan that best meets their needs.

Using conservative principles of choice and competition has enabled this one section of Medicare to work efficiently and cost less than was budgeted. That's a good lesson for future changes in Obamacare, as well as Medicare.


Phyllis Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
 
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