Stephens Media columnist Steve Brawner takes up the Republican effort to reduce deficit spending and curb entitlement program growth, primarily in Medicare.
In his Wednesday column, Brawner compliments Arkansas’ freshmen GOP Congressmen for the effort, but concludes the Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) plan will not work from either a policy or political standpoint.
Despite protesting to the contrary, Americans like big government. We like a strong military (for which we spend more than the next 14 largest militaries combined), we like highways stretching across the land, we like Social Security, and we really like Medicare.
You can’t turn Medicare into a voucher program because Americans won’t let you. You have to nudge — and keep nudging — the existing system in a direction that preserves its essential purpose while also saving it for future generations. That means raising the eligibility age to match our longer lifespans, means-testing so that wealthy seniors pay more for their own health care than poor ones, and eliminating paying for some expensive services, such as fruitless end-of-life treatments that prolong suffering and force the dying to spend their last days in hospital beds rather than in their homes.
Americans might be persuaded to accept those proposals if they can be shown that the system will go bankrupt without them. But forcing seniors to try to buy health insurance on the open market? Not a chance.
You can read more of Brawner’s column at this link.