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Republican congressman Paul Ryan and democratic senator Ron Wyden -- unveiling a new plan to reform Medicare.
Now this plan would give future seniors the choice of purchasing private insurance coverage or staying in the traditional plan.
But this is the kind of reform we need and how would impact your help.
With us now senior with -- -- -- -- senior fellow for domestic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation.
-- -- welcome to the show deal like this plan.
Oh -- like this plan a great deal in many respect -- a throwback to an earlier tradition of bipartisan leadership.
We've seen an approach to Medicare like this back in the 1980s.
We have Richard Gephardt Democrat of of Missouri and David Stockman a Republican from Michigan back in 1980.
We saw this type of approach.
With senator John Breaux of Louisiana.
And congressman Bill Thomas.
-- California so it's a continuation.
Of a -- part bipartisan tradition.
Basically proposing the same general approach to Medicare reform alright.
Bipartisan that's -- in my ears we expect out out there it's that's something we all wish we had a little more -- According show Clinton rightly what we're talking about what Paul Ryan's new plant because he's expanded that changed in just a little bit.
He would preserve right additional Medicare.
But if you wanted to go into a private plane you could there be tougher consumer protections lower health care costs higher quality health care.
Now you say Robert that this is a great bipartisan -- but I want you to listen to something the Jay Carney had to say criticizing this plan here's Jay -- Widen Ryan proposal could over time cause the traditional Medicare program to quote wither on the vine.
Because it would raise premiums.
Forcing many seniors to leave traditional Medicare and join private plans and it -- shift costs from the government to seniors at the end of the day this plan would end Medicare as we know it.
For millions of seniors.
Fifth month then there's no evidence that if you have a level playing field that traditional Medicare will necessarily go away people will pick.
Traditional Medicare -- stay in traditional Medicare if traditional Medicare delivers high quality care for the dollars that they spend on it.
If it does not and -- of one -- better health care plan what could possibly be wrong with that.
That is their choice to get a better plan if they wish to do so so now I think what the administration is doing it simply thing we're not gonna have any real change.
What we're gonna do if we're gonna stand pat and we're gonna look at 37 trillion dollar unfunded liability.
In the face and do nothing about it well Ryan and widen are trying to do is -- -- -- changed.
The dynamics of that to -- And and you know look it's an entitlement program that has grown like -- say that we cannot afford and we have to do something about.
But let's look at it from the flip side for just a second if I'm a senior and somebody you.
You know might be subject to the terms of this program.
How wouldn't help me to have these private insurance how do I get -- -- because let's face it.
Most -- look at this and they think now it only means it can war costs for me.
-- -- -- What you could see is you could -- -- level of competition.
Among the private plans competing.
For consumers dollars that will bring cost down.
And deliver more benefits we have experienced -- this already.
Right now one out of four seniors are in Medicare Advantage which is all private plans.
We have -- the Medicare drug program.
Covering roughly 90% of all seniors.
We have seen the actual premiums.
Projected premiums -- -- program actually decline.
According to the Medicare actuary by 41%.
From the projected level.
These are big changes so if you're looking at an opportunity to get higher quality health care at lower cost.
You cannot do better -- rely upon direct competition where health care -- have to compete directly for your dollars front.
What do you really can't get questioned Harry if you go -- as private plans.
What type of senior typically goes for these.
Well on the case of Medicare Advantage actually what they found this disproportionately.
Lower income seniors and minority seniors are actually going into those plans because they get very generous benefits.
And as far as the drug plan is concerned the Medicare part.
The satisfaction rate.
Among fingers is highest among those who right now have a great need for comprehensive benefits -- And require.
How medication for chronic conditions.
It was like 96%.
Rate of satisfaction are -- that's.
That's like the value of a competitive market it can give you high quality out in the form affordable price.
-- at eight let me turn to politics for just a second because you know Medicare -- those programs that we everybody's afraid of changing it.
Just this week Gingrich Newt Gingrich said -- -- of opposing Ryan's plan he's now on board with it.
Do you think that this could ever become law do you think it's possible that this Ryan Wyden plan -- get a broader constituency.
Brooke form what has become a program we really can't pay for.
Well actually there's a long transition into this program understand this program really doesn't Begin until 20/20 two.
So basically you're talking about the next generation of seniors one of the things.
That I frankly don't like about the plan on -- baby boomer but a lot of baby boomers are not going to be able to be and it.
I think that we've had experience with.
You know with these kinds of changes already.
With Medicare Advantage and with and with the Medicare part.
With the federal employee health benefits program which covers roughly nine million people eight to nine million people.
And we have a very high rate of satisfaction and we have -- Have superior cost control so I think it's going to take a little time I like the idea of a good transition period you can't do this overnight.
But what you're saying to -- look.
You can go you can stay in traditional Medicare are you can enroll in traditional Medicare but if you want something that you think -- better for you.
You'll have the opportunity to do that are so it seems to me at all -- here.
Well I -- I get things that your basic and -- For many many years until 22 so -- it's a long time to wait a Robert a pleasure speaking -- you really appreciate your time tonight.
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