August 19, 2012

JUST AS REPUBLICANS LIKED THE MANDATE UNTIL DEMOCRATS USED IT...:

RYAN'S MEDICARE REFORM: AN EARLY SUPPORTER RECANTS (John Cassidy, 8/17/12, The New Yorker)

In the community of economists, policymakers, and policy wonks which has studied and debated this issue, there are some Democrats and progressives who favor moving to a voucher system, although they usually avoid that phrase and use the less controversial term "premium support."

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal a couple of days ago, Joseph Rago, a member of the paper's editorial board, pointed out that it was Alain Enthoven, a Stanford economist who informally advised the Clinton Administration about health-care reform, who in 1978 first suggested switching to a voucher system, arguing that competition among rival health-care providers would help keep down costs. In the mid-nineties, this idea was endorsed by other moderate economists, including Henry Aaron, of the Brookings Institution, and Bob Reischauer, the longtime president of the Urban Institute. It was Aaron and Reischauer who coined the term "premium support."

More recently, some Democratic policymakers have put forward specific plans that involve shifting future retirees from traditional Medicare into a system based on vouchers. In November of 2010, as part of a long-term plan to balance the budget, former Senator Pete Domenici, a New Mexico Republican, and Alice Rivlin, who served as budget director in the Clinton Administration, suggested transforming Medicare into a voucher system starting in 2018. And in December of last year, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden--a Democrat--joined Paul Ryan in proposing a similar premium-support plan that would start in 2022. (Wyden subsequently voted against Ryan's budget for 2013, which contained the voucher idea along with some hefty cuts in Medicare funding.)

So yes, there are some progressives who have supported the basic ideas underlying Ryan's plan, even if they would criticize many of its details.

...so to do Democrats like vouchers until Republicans use them.  But neither is actually disputing policy.

Posted by at August 19, 2012 10:51 AM
  

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