Former White House budget director Peter Orszag writes an op-ed for Bloomberg, detailing the cost-shifts to Medicare enrollees in the Republican budget. But his words really can't compare to this picture:
By 2030, both the CBO and CBPP estimate, the Republican voucher proposal would cost nearly $9,000 more per beneficiary than Medicare. The great bulk of that—over $8,000—would be shifted to the beneficiary. In other words, all of us who are disabled or retired as of 2030. Those costs would increase because the Republican plan does nothing to contain costs, so as they rise the proposed voucher won't keep up, and an increasing burden is placed on enrollees. Which, by the way, is exactly what Rep. Paul Ryan wants.
At the heart of the Ryan plan is a shift within Medicare toward consumer-directed health care -– which in turn is predicated on increasing beneficiaries’ "skin in the game" to make the health system more efficient.
While more consumer cost-sharing would help reduce unnecessary care, the plan would not live up to its billing in cutting health costs for America. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, it would do the opposite. That’s right: The CBO found that the Ryan Medicare proposal would substantially increase total health-care spending....
On the critical metric of whether the Ryan plan would reduce total health-care costs, though, the CBO conclusion is shocking: The plan would not only fail to decrease health-care costs per beneficiary, it would increase them –- by an astonishingly large amount that grows over time. By 2030, health spending on the typical beneficiary would be more than 40 percent higher under the Ryan plan than under existing Medicare, according to the CBO report.
Health-care costs would not be reduced on the backs of seniors; they would be raised on the backs of seniors.
How could this possibly be, when the point of reform is to reduce costs? The CBO points to two factors: Private plans have higher administrative costs than the federal Medicare program, and less negotiating leverage with providers.
No wonder it's such an unpopular plan. Ryan and his colleagues like to say that these facts and figures are just Democratic scare tactics, but the CBO isn't a Democratic organization. It's awfully hard to argue with the ugly truth.