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For the 35 percent who “don’t really care” 

On August 13 , KTVZ asked viewers

”What do you think about Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as running mate”?

49 percent responded: “like it”

17 percent responded: “don’t like it” and

35 percent responded: “don’t really care.”

To the 35 percent who “don’t really care,”  I hope that this  condensed summary of one of the important issues, Medicare reform,  that Republican VP candidate, Paul Ryan  has addressed will capture your interest.

1. Fundamental goal of the Ryan’s Medicare proposal::

"not to retreat from the commitments made over the past eight decades, but to fulfill them." In a word, to preserve retirement security and the social safety net.

2. The concept of individual choice vs. government control is the heart of the solution to provide quality healthcare at competitive affordable cost.   While government may be good at collecting taxes, fighting wars and supporting public works, government management can never match the levels of self-interest and motivation that individuals and entrepreneurs pay to their own affairs and businesses. Individual involvement results in more favorable  investment decisions, cost control and quality outcome.  Because government operates at a high level, it is forced to make universal decisions that frequently do not meet individual needs.   In the “Affordable Care Act” (Obamacare) an unelected, and unaccountable  panel of 15 men and women will control health care spending  by decreeing how medicine should be practiced and how doctors and hospitals are organized.  Who will do a better job managing your healthcare? The government or you and your doctor?

3. Healthcare costs in the government-managed Medicare system is out of control, with a $38 trillion deficit, and will be bankrupt in the near future.  Under Medicare, there are few incentives to deliver quality care at reduced costs or develop alternative solutions.  The best and worst health care providers are paid equally regardless of quality of service.

4. The Ryan Medicare proposal calls for  “defined contribution” or “premium support”.   Medicare participants would receive aid to buy their own insurance, ensuring competition amongst many insurers and health care providers and near elimination of the massive government  “defined benefits” system that administers claims.  This concept is similar to the system presently used by our members of Congress.

5. The Ryan program would be phased in; there would be no change in benefits to retirees or people aged 55 or older.

6. Premium levels would be initially set to equal the average Medicare spending per person, then set regionally in a reverse auction to the second lowest bid.  Participants would pick their own program and pocket or pay the difference.  Unlike the proposed Obama insurance exchange with many controls, there will be more competition and choice of insurers.

7. Under premium support, networks of providers would be competing for consumers and become more efficient over time, instead of billing taxpayers for their current negative rate of productivity.

For the 35 percent who “don’t really care,” I hope that this simple, condensed summary of this important issue will motivate you.  Don’t be the victim of your own apathy.

Extensively quoted :

Joseph Rago: “The Forgotten History of Ryan's Medicare Reform” August 13, 2012, Wall Street Journal.

David Hogberg: “GOP's Ryan Dissects ObamaCare, Lays Out 'Roadmap' To Health”  March 12 2012. Investor’s Business Daily.

David C. White, Bend

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