Medicare recipients have historically received benefits worth several times what they have paid in payroll taxes. That was possible because there was a large worker-base supporting retirees. In 1965 there were 4.6 workers per beneficiary. With baby boomers retiring, by 2050 this number will be only 2.2. We can impose confiscatory taxes on these working stiffs or mortgage their entire incomes and still be unable to pay for all the benefits that seniors currently get.

Given these fiscal realities, if we do nothing, there will come a point when Uncle Sam will have to slash Medicare coverage so severely that, for all but the rich, “dying sooner” will actually seem like the best coverage option. But ObamaCare will make matters worse. Much worse.

Official calculations show that Medicare has $34 trillion less than it needs to keep all its promises to seniors. Yet ObamaCare will take $500 billion out of Medicare over 10 years to cover 30 million uninsured Americans.

There is one thing, however, that Rep. Ryan could — and should — do that would prevent Democrats from strangling RyanCare. He modeled his idea of giving seniors a fixed sum to use toward a private plan around the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan that members of Congress use. But the formula to adjust Congress’ annual allowance is based on the average premiums charged by private plans, not general inflation. He should give Congress the same treatment that he is proposing for seniors to demonstrate his confidence — and build everyone else’s — that RyanCare would cut costs, not shirk its responsibility to seniors.

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