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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press If Congress Was Not Dominated by Protectionists Medicare Costs Would be Easily Manageable

If Congress Was Not Dominated by Protectionists Medicare Costs Would be Easily Manageable

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Friday, 31 December 2010 15:10

USA Today ran a piece warning of the projected rise in Medicare costs associated with the baby boom cohorts turning 65, the age of eligibility. While the article told readers that the projected increase in Medicare costs will eventually exceed the program's revenues, it would have been worth mentioning that Medicare would be easily affordable if the U.S. did not pay more than twice as much per person for health care as other countries.

There are simple ways in which the United States could benefit from the lower cost of health care in other countries but the protectionists in Congress refuse to consider such options. Unfortunately this article relied exclusively on protectionists as sources.

Comments (8)Add Comment
You're trying the path of least resistance
written by Michael, December 31, 2010 3:28
Dean,
It can't be said that other countries have lower health care costs because they have opened their medical systems to the "international market" and "free trade" in medical services. I agree with you on much, but your whole "medical protectionism" argument is trying to avoid a head-on fight with entrenched interests that believe that the medical system can be run as a for-profit entity in its entirety. Our problem is public subsidy to private enterprise in both medical services delivery and drugs, etc. Other countries have "protectionism" of a largely non-profit medical system. While it is true a nominally "non-profit" system could be run very wastefully and cost a lot of money but that usually isn't the case with for instance, Canadian and Australian Medicare, etc.

Our Medicare functions as a profit guarantor for a wasteful, inefficient for-profit medical system.

By the way, I recommend John Cassidy's review in the New Yorker of a few weeks ago where he blows up the myth of free trade. I think you should read it.
Entrenched flag waving for the Oreo in Chief
written by ted bundy, December 31, 2010 4:56
Dean just doesn't want to offend those he consorts with in Washington policy circles, i.e. those who worship the Democratic Party. Hence he must never criticize their ideology and policies head on in fear being lonely.

If the U.S. has any future, working people need to recognize that the Democratic Party is their greatest enemy. To kill the snake you must chop off its head. Like I killed all those beautiful young women.
...
written by izzatzo, December 31, 2010 5:25
This is big commie lie. My doctor is Dr Pareto, an Efficiency Specialist, who says all those countries that pay half what the USA pays are twice as worse off, where the USA is twice as well off for paying twice as much.

When I asked twice as worse off as what, and twice as well off as what, the doctor said people get what they pay for, then gave me a prescription for Hypochondriac Inefficiency Syndrome and an injection of STFU, then sent Medicare a bill of $10,000 for making everyone better off with a Pareto Improvement of Negative Externality Reduction that made no else worse off.
SEIU has the grip here on congress...
written by pete, December 31, 2010 6:09
Clearly the "health reform" was 100% driven by the need to keep union workers...there is even explicit language. This was why it was anti-incentive, no "Whole Foods" plans allowed etc. So now Dean wants us to go overseas, since we are squeezed out of the domestic market. Why not fix the domestic market and open the borders...notice the recent attack on foreign medical schools too...watch congress run for the AMA on this one...
Other ways to cut health care costs
written by tom, December 31, 2010 8:23
Hi Dean

You have often mentioned protectionist aspects (eliminating drug patents, foreign doctors/medical systems) as ways to lower medical costs.

Do you know of any source that calculates the savings from these changes, as well as from other policies, such has single payer, eliminating fee for service/putting doctors on salary, etc.?
Off Topic
written by Ron Alley, December 31, 2010 9:55
Dean,

I thought you might find this piece on patents from the Washington Post interesting:
http://voices.washingtonpost.c...d=sec-tech
It's like the weather...
written by WhatMeWorry?, January 01, 2011 1:08
...everybody talks about it but nobody does anything about it. Those with money and influence control the government. Nothing will be done about medical costs until the Koch brothers start to complain about it.
www.guccihandbagsstore.com
written by gucci outlet, January 02, 2011 10:39
anti-incentive, no "Whole Foods" plans allowed etc. So now Dean wants us to go overseas, since we are squeezed out of the domestic market. Why not fix the domestic market and open the borders...notice the recent attack on foreign medical schools too...watch congress run for the AMA on this one...

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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