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April 04, 2011

Paul Ryan Proposes Savings of Over $4 Trillion Over Ten Years

As nice as that would be-- even this wouldn't produce solvency.

But all of this needs to be done.

On Medicaid, Ryan will propose to block grant the program to states, which would save money, allow it to grow at a predictable rate, and give governors more flexibility over how it is implemented. This is a popular option among many governors who are struggling with Medicaid costs, and its a proposal that has already attracted bipartisan support (at least intellectually speaking), as it was previously co-proposed with Alice Rivlin, the former Clinton budget director.

When it comes to Medicare, Ryan has previously proposed fundamentally reforming it to give retirees vouchers to purchase private insurance that would vary by income and health status. So, for instance, a poor and very sick beneficiary would receive a lot more than a very rich and healthy beneficiary. However, this reform would not kick in right away, as it only applies to those 55 and under. Thus, it would take time to produce savings and those wouldnt show up in the CBOs 10-year budget window.

And that's not some tiny voucher, either -- that's $11,000 per year to buy insurance with. And yet even such a sizable "golden" insurance policy would not be as costly as the current system. (It would also produce better results, as a nice bonus.)

I get this idea that the discretionary budget for 2011 is but one minor skirmish in a much greater war. But I don't think losing that skirmish helps us win the war; I don't think we can trade a loss here for a win on the bigger war. I think a victory in the smaller skirmish will make victory in the bigger war much more likely.


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posted by Ace at 06:18 PM

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