It’s the Health Care Costs, Stupid
I’ve already written about Joe Lieberman’s very bad, no good idea of raising the Medicare eligibility age. Austin Frakt and Aaron Carroll show that it’s even worse than I thought: Americans near 65 who don’t have good health insurance delay needed treatment, causing a bulge in Medicare costs when they hit the magic age, and the same phenomenon would get even worse, so this might not even save money.
The larger point is that we don’t have a Medicare problem, we have a health care cost problem. And Medicare actually does a better job of controlling costs than private insurers — not remotely good enough, but better.
If you look at Medicare in isolation, the cost rise looks terrible, because it is:
But it looks a bit different if you look at private insurance, too:
If Medicare costs had risen as fast as private insurance premiums, it would cost around 40 percent more than it does. If private insurers had done as well as Medicare at controlling costs, insurance would be a lot cheaper.
It’s a mystery why anyone claims that shifting more people into private insurance is a good idea. Actually, no, it isn’t a mystery; it’s an outrage.