“Incentives count, it turns out. People will do what they are paid to do. Doctors paid to implant stents will implant stents.
Doctors paid to think long and hard about whether a stent is necessary may be less eager surgeons. This story will not be the last in this genre as incentives settle into place under government-run health care.”

“The future of health care in America looks grim—but it does not have to be. Representative Paul Ryan (R–WI) has proposed ‘A Roadmap for America’s Future’—the only comprehensive plan in Washington that deals with the looming fiscal and economic crisis, driven by ever-increasing government spending on health care. Ryan’s Roadmap would reduce the deficit, allow Medicare to become truly sustainable, establish equity and efficiency in the federal tax treatment of health insurance, and improve access to health care for middle-class and low-income families. Congressman Ryan’s critics have accused him of trying to destroy the Medicare system and claim that the Roadmap will increase the deficit. While they may have honed the harshness of their rhetoric, they have not offered a comparable alternative. Heritage Foundation health policy experts explain how the Ryan Roadmap would really work, and how it would benefit Americans.”

In light of evidence that cost controls in Medicare result in wide disparities between different regions, a study was conducted to see how private insurance fared on that measure. It turns out that medical providers respond differently to pressures in a private, competitive market and private health plans are better able to control costs than government-run plans.

Seniors are facing growing difficulties in seeing doctors who accept Medicare patients. Medicare reimbursement rates are very low, and ObamaCare is scheduled to make them much lower, driving doctors out of the program.

“If ACOs become the only possibility for organizing, financing and delivering care, physicians and patients alike will find themselves in a treatment straightjacket. Thus, government should not give ACOs a competitive edge. If the ACO is such a good idea, let it develop in an open pluralistic market with no subsidy or other government advantage.”

“While we applaud the Chairs’ initiative and efforts to reduce future federal outlays, we feel their proposals ultimately fail to provide an adequate plan for the fiscal future, especially for the unsustainable rise in federal health care costs. We believe that the proposals can contribute to the ongoing budget debate, but are not a roadmap. To help inform the healthcare budget discussion, we outline below the good, the bad, and the ugly policy prescriptions in the co-chairs proposal.”

CMS Administrator Don Berwick testified at his first and only Senate hearing for such a brief time, that he was unable to be thoroughly questioned. “Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called the hearing ‘pathetic’ and said the time constraints made any real questioning difficult. ‘It’s like asking us to drain the Pacific Ocean with a thimble,’ he said. ‘We ought to have time to ask the most important man in healthcare sufficient questions.'”

“Dr. Donald M. Berwick, the new chief of Medicare and Medicaid, survived his first confrontation with Republican lawmakers on Wednesday, brushing aside criticism of the new health care law and denouncing efforts to repeal it.”

“Orszag claims that Obamacare will reduce the federal deficit and Medicare spending. What isn’t mentioned is that, though it’s true that spending on Medicare will be reduced by $575 billion over the next decade, savings are used to offset spending on new programs. So really, there are no savings at all.”

“Is Donald Berwick, the controversial new head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, standing by the Obama administration’s double counting of savings in the new health care law? At a Senate hearing this morning, he declined to engage with official criticism of the administration’s claim that the the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act extends the Medicare Trust Fund.”