Yesterday there were some questions in the comments about how big the vouchers would be under the Ryan plan. I had tossed off $15,000 as the number, but some people thought it was $8,000. I asked our resident non-lazy blogger, Kay, because, well, I’m lazy. Kay pointed me to the CBO letter to St. Paul Ryan [pdf]:
The payment for 65-year-olds in 2022 is specified to be $8,000, on average, which is approximately the same dollar amount as projected net federal spending per capita for 65-year-olds in traditional Medicare (that is, the program’s outlays minus receipts from the premiums enrollees pay for Part B and Part D, expressed on a per capita basis) under current law in that year. People who become eligible for Medicare in 2023 and subsequent years would receive a payment that was larger than $8,000 by an amount that reflected the increase in the consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) and the age of the enrollee. The premium support payments would increase in each year after initial eligibility by an amount that reflected both the increase in the CPI-U and the fact that enrollees in Medicare tend to be less healthy and require more costly health care as they age. (For example, projected net federal spending per capita for all people age 65 and older in traditional Medicare would be about $15,000 in 2022, CBO estimates, in comparison with about $8,000 for 65-year-olds.)
After all the sound and fury from the serious people, just let that paragraph sink in. Eleven years from now, the first year that this new “Medicare” program starts, the average 65-year-old will get a payment that couldn’t buy him or her a decent private insurance plan on today’s open market. I called this political suicide back when I first heard the $15K number. I hadn’t realized the real number is a little more than half of that. $8,000 is ritual, premeditated group political suicide, and Paul Ryan is Jim Jones, not the second coming of St Ronald.
I don’t get paid to read CBO reports, but David Brooks, Andrew Sullivan, Joe Klein and the rest are supposed to dust these fucking things off and delve into them. Hell, Kay, who’s busy doing real work, does it. That report is 26 pages of big type. It’s been out for 7 weeks. It could be read during one or two trips to the can. Instead of that, I guess they were beating off to pictures of Paul Ryan. Idiots.