My Arkansas News Bureau column this week is about the Medicare reform plan passed by Republicans in the House of Representatives April 15. It was supported by all three freshman Republicans from Arkansas.
The plan replaces Medicare as we know it with a voucher system that would give each senior $15,000 to purchase private health insurance starting in 2022.
My take is that while I appreciate Republicans for at least addressing the problem, it’s the wrong plan as a policy and politically. It’s the wrong as a policy because, just like President Obama’s health care plan, it relies on the private insurance industry, which I believe is as much to blame for our current problems as the government because private insurance only pretends to be a free market solution but doesn’t really behave like one. Because of it, consumers don’t make their purchasing decisions at the point of sale, which is what makes the free market work.
I didn’t say how to fix it in the column, which I should have, but the truth is, I don’t know. Americans are going to have to pay for more of their own health care. Insurance should insure against catastrophic loss, not pay to “treat” every sniffle, with a safety net staying in place for the poor.
The other problem with the Ryan plan is that it is wrong politically. It will never pass, which makes it a distraction, and it has made Republicans vulnerable in the upcoming elections.