The Washington Times-Herald

Our Perspective

November 29, 2011

Bipartisan plan on Medicare makes sense

Mankato — A bipartisan plan to reform Medicare delivery and manage Medicare spending may be just the tough medicine needed to sustain this important program.

The so-called Domenici-Rivlin Protect Medicare Act through the Bipartisan Policy Center is not without flaws and would need some tweaking after testimony from other experts, but it is based on sound economic principles and common sense policy changes.

The plan would provide benefits under a reasonable cost control system, create competition among insurance companies and create incentives for health care providers to provide the best, most efficient treatments.

Authors of the plan — former Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici, a Republican, and Alice Rivlin, former budget director for President Bill Clinton — proposed the Medicare reform plan a few weeks ago as part of an overall deficit reduction plan.

The growth of Medicare spending will continue to exceed the rate of growth of the overall economy, a rate authors note will not be sustainable under current rules even if taxes were raised. Currently, Medicare and Medicaid costs are about $700 billion per year, 37 percent of overall health care spending.

The retiring of the baby boomers, the greater life expectancy and rising medical treatment costs will drive this Medicare spending, if not reformed, to smother much of the rest of U.S. spending. . . .

The Free Press

Mankato, Minn.

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