Ryan Health Care: Bad Social Engineering

Congressman’s Paul Ryan’s plan to bring down the spiraling Medicare costs in America is, in a nutshell, as follows: Starting in 2022 eligible beneficiaries would receive a subsidy to purchase health insurance in the open market. Though the subsidy would cover only about one fourth of the cost, the rest would be covered out of pocket by the beneficiaries themselves. However, by negotiating with competing insurance companies, the beneficiaries could significantly reduce their share of the cost. The Federal Government would thus start privatizing Medicare—obviously the long-range scheme—taxpayers then would be relieved of the burden, beneficiaries would become smarter consumers, and insurance companies more efficient providers. A free-market win-win all around.

But here questions arise. For the plan to work, future beneficiaries must be required, by law, to pay into a special fund, as is the case with Social Security. But wouldn’t this fund have to be entrusted to a government or government appointed agency? And as we speak, aren’t 27 states arguing in court that a similar compulsory requirement in Obamacare is un-Constitutional? And how about the beneficiaries? Are most physically and mentally hale enough to spend hours on end poring over the inscrutable legalese of insurance contracts? Wouldn’t this spawn a side industry of pricy advisers, con men and lawsuits? And what guarantee is there that insurance companies would compete to serve senior citizens, most of whom are retirees on a tight budget? How could private insurance companies turn enough profit from it to stay in business?

Say what you will about Newt “foot-in-the-mouth” Gingrich. He was right on the money when he blurted that both the Ryan scheme and Obama care were forms of social engineering, and, one may add, bad social engineering at that.

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