New Report Lays Out Principles for Sound Medicare Reform

Published March 5, 2014

CHICAGO (March 5, 2014) – Of all the entitlement programs in the U.S. requiring reform, Medicare – the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older – presents the most difficult problem of all. The program’s actuaries project, under intermediate assumptions including full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), the program’s total deficits will reach $547.4 billion by 2022, in that one year alone, just for this single program.

In “A Better Medicare for Seniors and Taxpayers,” a new Policy Brief from The Heartland Institute, Senior Fellow Peter Ferrara describes two opposing approaches to addressing the Medicare crisis. Obamacare, he notes, attempts to address the problem by “cut[ting] Medicare by $716 billion over the next 10 years alone, mostly by slashing Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals.” Those Medicare cuts total $5 trillion over the next 20 years, he writes in the Policy Brief.

The far better alternative, says Ferrara, is the Medicare reform plan proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI): “Obamacare would raid Medicare to finance Obamacare through arbitrary, draconian cuts in payments to the doctors and hospitals that provide health care to seniors. Ryan’s reforms would allow seniors to escape these draconian Medicare cuts. They would choose from among competing private health plans that must pay doctors and hospitals adequately to attract customers for their health insurance, because if their customers can’t get health care with their insurance, those health plans are not going to have many customers.”

To read the Policy Brief, click here.

If you have any questions about this Policy Brief or The Heartland Institute, or if you would like to discuss entitlement reform issues with author Peter Ferrara, please contact Communications Director Jim Lakely at or [email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

Ferrara explains how the Ryan reforms would help not only seniors, but taxpayers as well: “These Medicare reforms would also contribute powerfully to increased economic growth and prosperity. Instead of sharp tax rate increases that reduce economic growth, the burden of health costs is sharply reduced through market competition and incentives.”

“A Better Medicare for Seniors and Taxpayers” is the fourth in a multi-part series Ferrara is writing on entitlement reform for The Heartland Institute.

The previous installments in the series, “A Winning Plan for Entitlement Reform,” “The Foundation for Entitlement Reform: Get American Booming Again,” and “Social Security Personal Accounts: Prosperity for All,” are also available.

The Heartland Institute is a 30-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.