THE KRUGSTER AND MEDICARE
From his blog
Medicare and the VA
So we’ve been treated to lots of opinion pieces declaring that Medicare is doomed, doomed I tell you, and entitlements are out of control. And I had a thought.
You see, we actually have a real live case of impressive cost control in health care: the VA system. The CBO reports:
Adjusting for the changing mix of patients (using data on reliance and relative costs by priority group), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that VHA’s budget authority per enrollee grew by 1.7 percent in real terms from 1999 to 2005 (0.3 percent annually).2 Though not the decline in cost per capita that is suggested by the unadjusted figures, that estimate still indicates some degree of cost control when compared with Medicare’s real rate of growth of 29.4 percent in cost per capita over that same period (4.4 percent per year).
So if you really think that Medicare as it is is doomed, why not propose converting it to a VA-type system as opposed to simply declaring it bankrupt and shutting it down? I mean, the standard argument — socialized medicine! loss of choice! — doesn’t seem to apply if the alternative is no health care at all.
But you know that the entitlements scaremongers won’t bite on this solution — because they don’t want to make social insurance affordable, they want to kill it.
So his example is the VA system? I will mention Walter Reed, not as an anecdote, but what it showed about the general quality of VA care. Well done K. An excellent point.