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POLICY/PHARMA: Cato calls the Republicans on the Part D deceipt

I approve of government programs done well. Michael Cannon doesn’t approve of them done much at all. We both disapprove of them being done expensively and then having so-called Conservatives in power lie bold face about their costs and enrollment rates. Yup, I’m sending you over to the Cato Institute blog. That might be a first for TPM Cafe, but it’s a great explanation of what’s wrong with Part D.

(Also posted at TPMcafe)

CODA: I haven’t made it thorugh Kling’s book yet, and I had a real problem with Cannon’s — as it missed the point so badly that I didn’t think it was worth reviewing. But with Radley Balko keeping up on the drug war stuff, Cato remains the thinking man’s right wing think-tank.

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Tom LeithMatthew HoltPeterBarry Carol Recent comment authors
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Barry Carol
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Barry Carol

Peter, I am not opposed to government intervention per se. Rather, I am opposed to one size fits all. That is why I like the good / better / best approach by the Century Foundation. I don’t think employer provided healthcare is a good model and have said numerous times that the only reason we have it is a 60 year old accident of history related to getting around World War II era wage controls. I also support doing away with the tax preference afforded employer provided health benefits even though doing so would cost my wife and me about… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

Well taking your figures then the comparison #’s would be 36% for U.S. and my figure of 46% for Canada? All that bad? The years would have to be the same though. I also found this assessment in economy.com: “The Canadian economy has delivered solid performance for nearly a decade with increased resilience to economic shocks, demonstrating the benefits of a well-designed macroeconomic framework and the pay off from a range of structural reforms implemented since the late 1980s”. As to tax rates the last time I did a personal analysis of Canada’s tax the income tax rate for my… Read more »

Barry Carol
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Barry Carol

Peter, The U.S. debt figure that you cited of 65% of GDP (2004) includes the special issue securities that comprise the bulk of the “assets” of the social security, medicare and other government trust funds. The debt actually held by outside investors like you and me (publicly held debt), on which the federal government has to pay interest each year in actual cash to be raised by taxes or borrowing is approximately 37% of GDP. See http://www.concordcoalition.org. The other countries that you mentioned being able to provide health insurance for their populations are doing so at total tax burdens (federal,… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

Well if 40-60 providers per State and a plan so complex most people who may need it can’t understand it is not some sort of fiasco I don’t know what would qualify. Matt has commented on whether the plan is really accomplishing much. Even CATO has commented. But maybe just the word “mess” would do. It’s certainly a plan for drug and insurance companies not consumers, like everything else in this healthcare system. From the research I did, here is what I found for GDP/Debt: U.S. – 65% (2004),Germany – 65.8%(04), France – 67.7%, Canada – 46% (2001/02). If my… Read more »

Tom Leith
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Tom Leith

> Peter, I’m not sure I understand what about
> Medicare Part D is a fiasco, and what might
> be your cure?
Oh, come now Barry — by now you know Peter’s cure: “Nationalize the entire medical industry from devices through delivery, dictating prices, access terms, everything.”
At least if we did this, the government of Canada would have to negotiate the price of drugs with the government of the USA the way prices of military hardware are negotiated. Wouldn’t THAT be a hoot!
t

Barry Carol
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Barry Carol

Peter, I’m not sure I understand what about Medicare Part D is a fiasco, and what might be your cure? Prior to Part D’s enactment, the only people over 65 that had what I would consider comprehensive and secure prescription drug coverage were (1) Medicaid beneficiaries and (2) retirees who previously worked for federal, state or local government. Private sector workers have been losing coverage in droves as a result of (a) bankruptcy, (b) companies eliminating coverage for non-union workers or (c) companies requiring workers to contribute so much toward the cost of their coverage that they can no longer… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

Libertarian – One narrow step above anarchy.

Matthew Holt
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Matthew Holt

Trap has (exhuastively) reminded me that Cato is not “right-wing” but libertarian.

Peter
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Peter

“I think the peace of mind value that comes from significantly enhanced protection against very high drug costs is worth a lot”
Barry, I don’t think anyone disputes the need for protection from high drug costs. But so far PartD is a fiasco, especially for the taxpayer. Apparently the Republicans think it is worth a lot, a tremendous, “a lot”. With Medicare getting closer to insolvancy is it the intent of Republicans to bankrupt every government program and get closer to Grover Norquist’s goal of finally, “drowning it” all together?

Barry Carol
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Barry Carol

Of the 75% of seniors who already had drug coverage before Part D, I wonder how many of these had purchased Medigap policies, the most comprehensive of which provides only up to $3,000 per year in coverage while a somewhat less comprehensive Medigap policy proivdes only up to $1,200. I think the peace of mind value that comes from significantly enhanced protection against very high drug costs is worth a lot and is, I believe, substantially underestimated by media critics (and even many seniors who currently have modest drug expenses). According to a recent article in the AARP Bulletin, 11%… Read more »