Ten Myths in the Medicare Ad Wars

August 23, 2012

If you like public policy, this is potentially an ideal time to have a serious national discussion about the future of Medicare. What we are getting instead is something akin to school yard taunts. The best thing you can say about Mitt Romney and Medicare is that he is confused. The best thing you can say about Barack Obama is that he has trouble with the truth, says John C. Goodman, president and CEO and Kellye Wright Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, and a research fellow at the Independent Institute.

Goodman presents 10 myths surrounding Medicare:

  • Myth Number One: Health Reform Is Good For Seniors.
  • Myth Number Two: Seniors Will Not Lose Any Medicare Benefits.
  • Myth Number Three: Health Reform Has Made Medicare More Solvent.
  • Myth Number Four: ObamaCare Is Fully Paid For.
  • Myth Number Five: Health Reform Is Going to Make Medicare More Efficient.
  • Myth Number Six: ObamaCare Takes $716 Billion out of the Medicare Trust Fund; by Repealing the Act, We Can Put the Money Back.
  • Myth Number Seven: There Is a Medicare Trust Fund
  • Myth Number Eight: By Privatizing the Program, Paul Ryan Would Destroy Medicare as We Know It.
  • Myth Number Nine: The Ryan Plan Is the Romney Plan.
  • Myth Number Ten: Medicare Doesn't Need Reform.

Goodman says Medicare has the same funding problem as Social Security. A sensible approach to the reform of both programs is to move to a funded system in which each generation saves to pay for its own pension and post-retirement health care benefits. Beyond that, we need to free the doctors, the patients and the entrepreneurs. Currently they are dealing with a bureaucratic system that gives each of them perverse incentives. When they act on those incentives they make costs higher, quality lower and access more difficult than would otherwise be the case.

How to liberate the actors in the system and leave them free to solve problems rather than create them is the subject of his new book, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis.

Source: John C. Goodman, "Ten Myths in the Medicare Ad Wars," Forbes, August 22, 2012.

 

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