Hubbard in WSJ

Glenn Hubbard (who was chair of the Council of Economic Advisors for President Bush II) has a piece in today’s WSJ that proposes how to cut spending to 20% of GDP within a decade. Lots of territory covered in 750 words, but of course his health policy notions caught my eye. A sample:

The obvious place to begin is repealing ObamaCare and its expansion of spending…..

We should also let states experiment with alternatives to our current one-size-fits-all federal solution. The best example is Medicaid, which should be converted into a block grant…..

Medicare would be placed on a budget through premium support, which would let beneficiaries choose among competing health plans, much like federal employees do now. Subsidies would be larger for lower-income or higher-health-risk individuals. The annual growth would be determined by Congress along with other spending priorities….

Several points.

  • The unfunded Medicare liabilities noted in the piece did not materialize at Noon on January 20, 2009.
  • Given this fact, why didn’t the Bush administration take on any of these health policy initiatives when Republicans also controlled the House and the Senate if they are so straight forward?
  • The fact that Republican-controlled House of Representatives has not moved to mark up any type of replace legislation does not provide any confidence that they will be willing to invest the political capital necessary to drive a health reform package (the ideas above would require a massive number of details to be hashed out). Especially given their pledge to replace the ACA, the lack of committing to the details of what they would do is telling.

As Austin wrote yesterday, the ACA is not enough and I bet there have been 150 posts on this blog the last 6 months talking about different examples of where we need to do more to achieve a sustainable health care system. It would be quite a leap of faith to START these next steps with the repeal of the ACA.

h/t Brad Flansbaum

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