Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Why bother to offer any specifics?
What with the Republicans in Congress demanding drastic cuts in federal spending and "entitlement reform," but refusing to say what exactly the heck they are talking about, and president Obama saying that Medicare can save money without hurting beneficiaries but not bothering to say exactly how, it's obvious that all you have to do to be a successful politicians is spout empty rhetoric.
Here, the Center for American Progress proposes what it says are $385 billion in Medicare savings over 10 years without taking one single benefit away from seniors. I can't vouch for the arithmetic, but it's true that most of these reforms would definitely save some money. However . . .
They mostly save money by making suppliers -- drug companies, medical device manufacturers, hospitals, specialist physicians -- compete for their business or outright cutting payments. There is some other waste they want to wring out of the system but that's also somebody's income. That's our problem -- it isn't really Medicare beneficiaries who politicians are worried about, they don't have any money, don't contribute billions to political campaigns or superPACs or for that matter work for the news media. It's all those people who are profiting from Medicare spending. CAP can say "Hey, let's shut off the gravy train and take care of people cost-effectively," but where is the organized, financed, effective constituency for that?