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Washington Times Op-Ed: Health care for seniors

July 26, 2013 in Politics & Elections

As a physician, I understand the reliance many Americans have on Medicare. However, wasteful spending in Washington has drained the Medicare trust fund. The combination of massive debt, fewer active workers and more retirees is pushing Medicare into bankruptcy. Medicare is nearly $40 trillion unfunded. Simply put, this is an unsustainable path and Obamacare is not the answer.
Washington cannot continue to promise everything to everyone, and it is time for legislators to begin seriously discussing practical and realistic changes to Medicare. That is why next week I will reintroduce the Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act of 2013.

The plan is simple: All seniors will be enrolled in the same health care plan as their members of Congress and other federal employees. By all accounts, elected officials and federal employees receive some of the best health insurance in the country, and it is time for every senior to have access to the best health care in America as well.

The congressional health care plan also is less expensive than the current Medicare plan because it is not administered by government bureaucrats. My plan would save taxpayers $1 trillion over the next 10 years and reduce Medicare’s unfunded liabilities by almost $16 trillion. Individual seniors will save thousands of dollars from their personal health care budgets each year while receiving more generous benefits.

The Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) describes an array of insurance options available to 4 million federal employees and their dependents – roughly 10 million people. The government pays roughly three-quarters of the total costs of insurance plans chosen by beneficiaries based on their individual needs and preferences.

Like Medicare, FEHBP is a regulated marketplace where plans cannot deny coverage to anyone for any reason. Everyone within the plan will pay the same premium regardless of their health status or pre-existing conditions.

This plan also makes it easier for insurance plans to enter the market to compete for seniors’ business – including allowing employers to continue covering seniors through retirement.

With my plan, all Medicare-eligible patients could enroll in FEHBP as if they were federal employees, and willing employers can give eligible patients the option of staying on their current plans and still receive the government’s contribution.

In order to make this fiscally possible, the initial eligibility age for seniors will be increased gradually from 65 to 70 over a period of 20 years, and the benefits will be means-tested. However, no current or …read more


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Obama's Bad News for Blacks

July 26, 2013 in Economics

By Richard W. Rahn


Richard W. Rahn

If you knew nothing else about President Obama other than looking at the data, you might conclude that he was insensitive to blacks, given that they have done far worse economically under his administration than Hispanics or whites. What is striking is that the president and his advisers still seem to be clueless about which economic policies work and which don’t work. Despite his (at least for this week) emphasis on the economy, he persists in being the anti-Reagan, with anti-growth policies. In his speech Wednesday in Illinois, the president came up with no new pro-growth proposals, just more of what has not worked.

President Reagan reduced the maximum tax rate on job creators by 60 percent; Mr. Obama increased the maximum tax rate on job creators by 17 percent. Reagan cut non-defense, discretionary, federal government spending by a third as a percentage of gross domestic product; Mr. Obama has increased it. Reagan cut government regulations while Mr. Obama has greatly increased them.

The results are:

  • Under Reagan, adult black unemployment fell by 20 percent, but under Mr. Obama, it has increased by 42 percent.
  • Black teenage unemployment fell by 16 percent under Reagan, but has risen by 56 percent under Mr. Obama.
  • The increase in unemployment rates has been far worse for blacks under Mr. Obama than for whites and Hispanics.
  • Inflation-adjusted real incomes are slightly higher for Hispanics and whites than they were in 2008, but are lower for blacks.
  • The labor force participation rate has fallen for all groups, but remains far lower for blacks than for whites and Hispanics.

Most people, when confronted with the evidence presented above, probably would realize that they had been mistaken and then try a set of policies that were successful in the past. Not Mr. Obama. Given the tenor of his most recent talks, he seems to be intent on doubling down on his own failed policies.

The president and his advisers still seem to be clueless about which economic policies work and which don’t work.”

It was true until the Industrial Revolution of two centuries ago, in a world of little economic growth, that for any individual to become better off, others would have to become worse off. Adam Smith was one of the first to understand that as a result of new technologies and better political and business institutions and organizations — and, most important, the rule of law and …read more

Source: OP-EDS