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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bipartisan plan for premium-support reform of Medicare?

(By Ed Morrissey, Hot Air) - Democrats had to have a plan to tie all Republican candidates to that crazy notion floated by Paul Ryan to transform Medicare into a premium-support plan, an idea so radical that no Democrat or even sane person could possibly support. Why, even Newt Gingrich called it “right-wing social engineering”! Barack Obama could get up on the stump all year and tell seniors that only he could hold back the hordes of crazy Tea Party activists that would throw Grandma to the mercy of — 'quelle horreur' — insurance companies. Wait, I wrote that inaccurately. It should have been 'eeeeeeeeeevil' insurance companies.

Sounds like a great plan, no? Well, at least it did until Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon decided that Paul’s idea isn’t so insane or extreme after all:

A Democratic senator, Ron Wyden of Oregon, and a Republican member of the House, Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, unveiled a bipartisan plan on Wednesday to revamp Medicare and make a fixed federal contribution to the cost of coverage for each beneficiary. …

Under the proposal, known as premium support, Medicare would subsidize premiums charged by private insurers that care for beneficiaries under contract with the government.

Congress would establish an insurance exchange for Medicare beneficiaries. Private plans would compete with the traditional Medicare program and would have to provide benefits of the same or greater value. The federal contribution in each region would be based on the cost of the second-cheapest option, whether that was a private plan or traditional Medicare.

In addition, the growth of Medicare would be capped. In general, spending would not be allowed to increase more than the growth of the economy, plus one percentage point — a slower rate of increase than Medicare has historically experienced.

To stay under the limit, Congress could cut payments to providers and suppliers responsible for the overspending and could increase Medicare premiums for high-income beneficiaries, the lawmakers said.


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