Posted on 24 May 2011
By Mark Miller
Can privatization cure what ails Medicare?
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) thinks so. The House Budget Chairman points often to the Medicare Part D prescription drug program as proof that competition among private insurers has saved billions for taxpayers. It’s a key line of defense in the Republicans’ controversial plan to replace traditional Medicare with a privatized voucher program.
It’s true that government spending on Part D is running far below projections made by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) when the drug plan was first created. But it’s not clear that the lower spending results from Part D’s privatization features. The lower spending actually reflects slower spending on prescription drugs throughout the health system and lower-than-expected enrollment in Part D.