Ryan and Wyden Medicare proposal overview and news roundup
December 16, 2011
Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) released their proposal to overhaul Medicare this week. It is not at the bill stage yet, as the authors hope to cut down on the political rhetoric and start a serious national dialogue about the future of Medicare. Ryan and Wyden have not asked the Congressional Budget Office to review their proposal yet, so it is not known how much their plan would save compared to current Medicare.
Here is a brief overview of some of the plan’s key points:
People over 55 would see no change to their benefits. They would be free to opt into a private plan when the Medicare Exchange is established in 2022.
The “premium support” system would ensure affordable coverage by empowering seniors to choose either traditional Medicare or private plans. And there would be more help for low-income seniors who need it, and less for wealthier seniors who don’t need the assistance.
Medicare plans could be purchased on an insurance exchange established by congress.
Strong consumer protection would include:
- All participating plans would have to offer benefits that are at least equal to traditional Medicare plans.
- Risk-adjusted premium-support payments would guarantee affordable coverage for those with the greatest health needs.
- Plans could neither refuse coverage for pre-existing conditions, nor charge rates that discriminate based on health status.
- CMS would oversee all plans to ensure transparency and fairness.
Competition would drive program growth. Competitive bidding would force providers to reduce costs and improve quality. Competition between private and traditional Medicare plans would incentivize both to develop better delivery models and ways to care for patients.
Employees in small businesses with up to 100 workers could use their employer’s contributions to purchase their own health insurance, and the cost of free choice options would be fully tax deductible to the employer. In addition, allowing workers to keep the same insurance when they retire would ease their transition into Medicare.
Medicare spending would be capped to GDP plus one percentage point.
Read the full report: http://budget.house.gov/UploadedFiles/WydenRyan.pdf
Here’s a roundup of news articles written this week about the Ryan/ Wyden proposal, with reactions and opinions from across the political spectrum.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek: Bipartisan Medicare Plan May Spur More Compromise, Ryan Says
The Washington Post: Interview with Rep. Paul Ryan
Boston.com: Clipboard: The “Ryden” Medicare proposal
Chicago Tribune: White House blasts new Medicare plan by GOP’s Ryan
The Wall Street Journal: A.M. Vitals: Ryan, Wyden to Introduce Proposal for Changing Medicare
The Washington Post: What Wyden-Ryan hath wrought
The Wall Street Journal: The Wyden-Ryan Breakthrough
Kaiser Health News: Wyden And Ryan Join Forces On New Medicare Overhaul Plan
The New York Times: Lawmakers Offer Bipartisan Plan to Overhaul Medicare
Visit Extend Health — the nation’s largest private Medicare exchange.