KAISER HEALTH NEWS REPORTERS Julie Appleby and Marilyn Werber Serafini FILED THIS REPORT:
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan says his proposal to overhaul Medicare would use market competition to tame costs in the government health program relied on by almost 50 million people.
As models, he often cites the health program for federal employees – including members of Congress — and Medicare’s prescription drug program. “It works with federal employees, it works with the prescription drug benefit, and more to the point, it saves Medicare,” Ryan said on “Meet the Press” in April.
Both of those programs get high marks from beneficiaries for the choices they offer. But their track record on cost control is more complicated, raising questions about whether the competitive model is in fact the silver bullet that backers have suggested.
The federal employee health insurance program is often touted as holding down the increase in premium prices more successfully than private workplace plans or government-run programs. But a data analysis done for Kaiser Health News (KHN) and interviews with experts shows it has not held down costs per enrollee as efficiently as Medicare during the past decade.
Average spending in the federal workers’ program grew at 7.1 percent annually per enrollee, higher than the 5.8 percent growth rate for traditional Medicare – excluding the drug program — over the decade ending in 2010, according to data analyzed at KHN’s request. The analysis, based on 10-year averages, was done by Walton Francis, a consultant and principal author for 30 years of the Consumers’ Checkbook Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees.
In addition, the analysis found that spending growth in the federal workers’ program far exceeded the rate at which Ryan proposes to cap Medicare each year — the increase in the nation’s economic growth plus half a percentage point. Had federal workers’ benefits been indexed to that rate, “there’s no question …. [it would] have constrained spending or increased premium costs of participants,” Francis said.
I CANNOT GET TO THE POINT OF RESPECTING POLITICAL PEOPLE THAT DO NOT TELL THE TRUTH…………CAN YOU?