Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Why The Free Market Fairy Can't Reduce Healthcare Costs

Peter Orzag is the former Director of the Office Of Management And Budget in the Obama Administration.  He is currently a Vice Chairman at Citi Group.  He has a good understanding of the federal budget, and he was deeply involved in the analysis of the budgetary implications of Obama's healthcare plan.  In other words he is an expert in this field, and he relies on the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to evaluate the effect of legislation on the federal budget.

In this article he explains why Paul Ryan's Medicare plans (he has made some changes to his original plan) will not reduce the cost of Medicare.  He tells us the results of the CBO analysis, and he explains why the magic of the market, which is the ideology behind the Ryan plan, will not reduce the cost of healthcare.

The post below is about an op-ed by David Brooks, who is not a budget analyst and has no training, or experience in healthcare economics.  Brooks is not even aware of the CBO analysis of Ryan's Medicare plan, but he argues that the magic of the market will make Medicare affordable and save our country from bankruptcy and ruin.  More importantly, Brooks argues that Ryan's Medicare reform plan is the reason why his readers should vote for Romney/Ryan.  Its the only way to save our country.

Peter Orzag is not alone in pointing out the fallacy in David Brooks' op-ed. Kevin Drum has a shorter rebuttal.  Since Medicare is a central issue in the 2012 election other conservative op-ed writers have jumped on the bandwagon to explain why Ryan's plan fixes Medicare.  Dean Baker provides a critique of Samuelson's article which is in today's Washington Post.

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