Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ryan's $34 Trillion Folly

Paul Ryan's Medicare plan would indeed save some tax dollars, David Cay Johnson says, writing at Tax.Com. In fact, he estimates that Ryan's voucher plan could save $4.9 trillion (with a T) in taxes from 2022 through 2084.

There's a catch, of course. Trouble is, for every $1 "saved" in taxes, health care consumers would spend $5 too $8 more for their care. Depending upon whose figures you use, the Ryan plan would cost people as much as $39-billion more for health care. Subtract the $5-trillion in savings (we can round it off to the nearest $100 billion), and the net cost is a mere $34-trillion.

Such a deal. Says Johnson:

Hardly anyone knows about the gargantuan added costs because of the way Ryan is marketing the plan...Ryan is looking out for his agenda and being deceptive by omission.

The idea -- promoted by Ryan as inherent truth -- that market forces will cut costs is absurd. No one lying on a litter in pain from an accident or who was just told they have a cancerous tumor is going to start negotiating price any more than airline passengers are going to cross-examine the pilots on their skill and training. Even if you did, do you have the technical knowledge to compare physicians?

There is a smarter path, one that saves taxpayers money and reduces healthcare costs. That is to junk our taxpayer-subsidized model in favor of a modern healthcare system.
It's government that has the power to ratchet down prices, not the person lying on the litter, Johnson says. But you won't hear that from Paul Ryan. He's a man on a mission.

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