Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Feature, Not A Bug

Last Sunday's editorial in the Saint Petersburg Times criticized Rep. Paul Ryan's plans for Medicare as not spending a sufficient amount to counter rising health care costs. My letter in Friday's paper counters that the lower spending and other reforms in the plan serve as part of the solution:

This editorial criticizes Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal for not spending as much on Medicare and Medicaid as current health care costs would require. This is a feature, not a bug. These two government entitlements deluge the health care market with dollars that chase available supplies of medical treatment, bidding up the price. This, combined with the fact that beneficiaries have little incentive to shop for the best prices, put these programs in perilous financial straits and increase costs for those inside and outside of the system.

Ryan's plan offers solutions to both of these problems. Lower overall spending puts brakes on rampant health care inflation, and his voucher system incentivizes beneficiaries to shop for the best deal. Far from being insufficient, Ryan's proposals are just what the doctor ordered.

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