Skip to main content

Vouchercare

Paul Krugman writes that Vouchercare is not a "new, sustainable version of Medicare." It may be new and I suppose that its adherents can call it whatever they like, but its recipients would not find it especially sustaining.

Vouchercare, a.k.a. the Roadmap for America's Future, would starting in 2022 provide seniors with an average of $11,000 with which to purchase insurance. But there's a catch: That's $11,000 in 2012 dollars. To understand what that means in terms of actual purchasing power, calculate the present value of $11,000 using a discount rate based on historical medical inflation rates (3-5% over the last ten years):

  • At 3%: $8,135
  • At 4%: $7,431
  • At 5%: $6,753
Moreover, Ryancare vouchers are indexed to the general rate of inflation as opposed to the medical rate. The medical rate is historically higher. Suppose that the vouchers grow at an average rate of 3% a year for five years while medical inflation increases at a rate of 4%. Although the payout would be $12,752, the actual purchasing power will have dropped to $7,081. This table shows the declining actual value of the vouchers over 25 years given a medical inflation rate of 4% with the vouchers indexed to 3%:

  Payment Value
Year 1 $11,000 $7,431
Year 5 12,752 7,081
Year 10 14,783 6,747
Year 15 17,138 6,428
Year 20 19,867 6,125
Year 25 23,032 5,836

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, using the CBO assumptions provided by Rep. Ryan, estimates that by 2080, Medicare benefits will have been effectively cut by 76%. And even that may be optimistic: Medicare currently operates with an administrative overhead of 1-2%. One organization estimates health insurance company overhead to be as high as 31%, all of which is passed on to purchasers in the form of reduced purchasing power.

So, Krugman is right: Vouchercare is not Medicare. It would be one thing if its adherents were forthright about their intent to gradually eliminate the government role as a health insurer for elders. Then we could have an honest debate, albeit one they would lose. But, as happens too often in the health care reform discourse, ideology has once again trumped honesty.

Popular posts from this blog

Turn Trash to Treasure: An Easy Way to Help SAGE and the Corvallis Environmental Center!

Clear clutter and unwanted items from your home and you can help raise funds for the Corvallis Environmental Center--all year long!  Just take your unwanted items to an ARC Thrift Store where they sell them and donate the proceeds to the CEC.  It easy!  Here's how:

1. Collect Items in Good Condition

Not all donate-able items are eligible, so check out the list of items that will raise money for the CEC:
www.corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org/turn-trash-to-treasure
2. Put a sticker on each eligible item Stickers are located in a big envelope on the window outside of the CEC office at 214 SW Monroe Ave., Corvallis

3. Drop-off Items at The ARC! Items can be dropped off anytime during store hours at either location.

The ARC Thrift Stores:
928 NW Beca Street, Corvallis (541) 754-9011
936 Main Street, Philomath (541) 929-3946

Hours:
Monday-Saturday: 10am-5:30pm
Sunday: 12pm-5:30pm
Thanks so much for helping support SAGE and the other programs of the Corvallis Environmental Center!!!

Beans, Beans and More (or Less) Allergenic Beans!

We have a little good news this week: my son passed a home bean challenge for both pinto and cannellini (white) beans last night. Hooray!

At our last allergist visit, they ran the numbers on a number of varieties of beans and many were Class 0, with values like 0.68. My son's doctor thought it was reasonable to try these at home.

Going to stop for a moment and interject: DON'T DO THIS WITHOUT YOUR DOCTOR'S DIRECTION. A lot of things go into whether home challenges are a good idea for your child: how serious the allergen typically is, how far the hospital, how experienced the parents are with recognizing reactions. Many doctors are not comfortable with this at all. But, in our case, it makes sense to do some challenges at home because my son tests slightly allergic to dozens of foods.

He has avoided all beans since around age five, when he started developing new allergies. First it was tuna. Then cashews. Then (to our great surprise), he suddenly became allergic to garbonzo be…

Best Food Allergy Tweets/Posts From 2013 ACAAI Meeting

Sorry, guys...I've been very busy the last couple of weeks, but just over a week ago one of the largest allergy and asthma conferences, the annual American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, was tweeting its brains out.

Here were the tweets and (virtual) presentations I thought were most interesting:

ACE inhibitors are often used to treat high blood pressure. I believe Lisinopril was the one specifically mentioned. This goes hand in hand with the idea that older patients, especially men, can see changes in the severity of their allergic reactions as they age.

Here's an answer on the question many of us asked about component testing. Just as with RAST, the number itself doesn't matter; just the positive result.

Gross! But yes, give your kids the bobber after the dog/ brother/ mailman licked it.

Conversely, tree-nut-allergic individuals have a 30% incidence of concurrent peanut allergy. 
So stop blaming yourselves, FA mommies! I've said this consistently - Mother Natur…