One of President Obama’s strategies is to let a panel of 15 unelected officials decide how much Medicare will pay doctors and which services it will cover. This panel was created by the health-care law enacted last year, and the president recently gave a speech in which he argued that these officials should be given the power to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare for current seniors.
There is a better approach: The budget the House recently passed saves Medicare, period.
First, the House plan protects today’s seniors from any disruptions. Our budget ensures no changes for those who are now 55 or older.
Second, our plan provides real reform to save and strengthen Medicare for current taxpayers, so that it is there for them when they retire. Rather than putting the government in charge, our plan provides financial support to help future Medicare patients pay for the insurance plan that works best for them and their families. Patients will have the freedom to choose from a list of guaranteed coverage options — the same kind of system members of Congress enjoy today.
Our reforms will stop the relentless increase in our health-care costs. Some take issue with this claim, arguing that the reforms in our budget merely cap the government’s cost exposure but lack a true cost-containment mechanism. Critics who say our budget would leave seniors paying more are ignoring the fundamental laws of economics. In stark contrast to reducing reimbursements to providers and denying benefits to patients, our plan relies on the best cost controls ever devised: consumer choice and competition. When providers are forced to compete for patients’ business, they will look to lower the costs and increase the quality of their services — the way it always works when the consumer is in charge.
The urgent need to reform Medicare and the president’s misguided response have left us with a profound question: Who should be making health-care decisions for you and your family?
A panel of officials in Washington? Or you?