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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The WSJ's Ideology Is That the Government Should Redistribute From Everyone Else to the Rich

The WSJ's Ideology Is That the Government Should Redistribute From Everyone Else to the Rich

Friday, 03 January 2014 07:10

Uwe Reinhardt has a useful blogpost taking issue with a Wall Street Journal editorial on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The editorial had complained that the ACA steals $156 billion from the Medicare Advantage program, the portion of Medicare run by private insurers.

Reinhardt points out that this $156 billion in reduced payments is over a ten year period, a point missing from the editorial. That's around 2.0 percent of projected Medicare spending over this period. The other key point in Reinhardt's piece is that this reduction in payments for Medicare Advantage simply involves leveling the playing field so that the federal government will pay the same amount for each beneficiary in the Medicare Advantage program as in the traditional fee for service program.

Towards the end of the piece Reinhardt notes that, given the WSJ's ideology, it is understandable that it would object to this leveling of the playing field. While this is true, this is not where a market oriented ideology would take them. If the WSJ editors were confident in the superiority of private sector insurers, they would not feel that they needed a subsidy compared with the traditional government program. The WSJ position only makes sense if the view of the editors is that it is the responsibility of government to redistribute money to the private insurers and implicitly their shareholders and top executives.

Comments (7)Add Comment
If This is "Stealing", then What is "Taking" versus "Making"?
written by Last Mover, January 03, 2014 7:45

Of course this is another big commie lie from liberals.

As Bruce Barlett noted some time ago, Newt Gingrich supported adding $16
to the debt through government payments of Medicare Advantage to private insurers and providers.

This was claimed necessary to "level the playing field" so private health care would not have to face unfair competition from a big commie monopoly government.

In fact, Newt Gingrich had such remarkable foresight at the time, he was channeling Paul Ryan even back then for ways to advance the 1% to where they are today through government subsidies combined with protectionist policies that shield them from competition. Forcing the government to pay full MSRP for one's product was a great start for this act of neofascism.

Get over it America. "Stealing" $156B from Medicare Advantage by ACA is chump change compared to the benefits received in added value from $16T in unfunded liabilities* created to pay off private health care as a massive bribe so it doesn't have to face "unfair competition" from government.

* Mysteriously, the $16T in unfunded liabilities from Medicare Advantage was never singled out in scaremonger lectures by the Pete Peterson Foundation and others, on how debt is destroying America.

Now get out there and compete for a living America. Head-to-head competition like private health care does. Carve out a huge subsidy for yourself, then siphon off customers of what the government was already providing at lower cost, then brazenly preach to the masses in the 99% that excess debt is what killed the middle class and the only thing that can save them is a return to private market competition free of government interference.
playing levels
written by Squeezed Turnip, January 03, 2014 7:49
Aw, c' mon, Dean. America is willing to pay exorbitant amounts for professional athletes' salaries, since they must labor under the disadvantage of fierce competition amongst each other and against the NCAA player pool. Therefore we must be willing to pay extra for Medicare Advantage providers to participate their heroic Galt-ian struggle against each other and against Uncle Sam, because God forbid they should have to spend their precious few intelligence resources to achieve anything resembling the efficiency that was promised as a selling-point by the GOP (of course it's Obama's fault!).
written by djb, January 03, 2014 9:03
if money is your god, if your holiness increases by getting more and more of it

then it doesn't matter how you get more and more of it

doesn't matter who you hurt, doesn't matter how much you lie

doesn't matter who you manipulate or take advantage of

a rising tide lifts all boats

don't ya know

It's Much Wose Than That
written by John Q, January 03, 2014 11:55
Under Rupert Murdoch, the Wall Street Journal has become a thoroughly dishonest propaganda vehicle that opposes common decency and common sense on both its news and its editorial pages.

If you really want the poor to starve and the United States to sink into a hopeless depression, just keep on buying copies of the Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ editorial pages...
written by ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©, January 03, 2014 1:24
John Q, the WSJ editorial pages have been filled with dishonest, right-wing ideologues for as long as I can remember.

Rupert Murdoch's special touch (reverse-Midas) is to turn their reporting into the same shit (which is what he does with everything he buys).
written by John Q, January 03, 2014 3:05

@ ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©: You are quite right. I stand corrected. I started reading the WSJ as a Wharton MBA student in 1961 (I'm 83), and its editorial pages were indeed filled with dishonest, right-wing ideology as far back as that. Thanks for making the point.
WSJ Editorials
written by hidflect, January 05, 2014 3:41
John Q is perfectly correct. I recall when I was working in Thomson Reuters they had free copies of the WSJ to read. I flipped it open to the editorial page (before Murdoch bought them) and there was this foaming scree about how the poor (aka the peons and the serfs) were responsible for the Global Financial Crisis. I was literally repelled by the bullsh1t. I recall thinking, "if the poor only control 1% of the economy, how the fck could they be the cause??" Happily, there was vote in TR to eliminate the 3 least favourite publications to save money and the WSJ was given the boot.

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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.