• Just forget everything that’s been said for the last year

    (UPDATE: Added in awesome chart.)

    This has been the longest I’ve ever gone without blogging. I hope you all missed me terribly.

    I still followed some news when I was away. I’ve been waiting for this:

    During the campaign, candidate Romney repeatedly hammered President Obama for cutting $716 billion from Medicare as part of his signature healthcare law. Romney pledged to repeal those cuts in a break from his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

    Ryan, the House Budget Committee Chairman, had preserved Obama’s Medicare cuts in two consecutive budget proposals that repealed the rest of the Affordable Care Act. Ryan is now back at work crafting his next budget, and Republicans on his committee say the $716 billion in Medicare cuts will likely survive.

    Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) said the $716 billion cut is part of the committee’s over-arching plan to save and reform Medicare. He said he doesn’t expect Ryan to back away from any part of that goal just because Romney was on a different page.

    Ah, yes. Remember when this was pitched as President Obama “robbing Medicare” and “slashing Medicare”? Remember when there was a rallying cry to fight so very, very hard to make sure those $716 billion in cuts never happens  No? I don’t blame you. It was so long ago.

    Look, I welcome this change of heart. If all cuts to future Medicare spending are considered verboten  then we might as well give up. For the record, here’s how Obamacare cuts future Medicare spending. ThinkProgress has made an amazing chart to show how the administration has proposed to add to that:

    Hopefully we’ll be hearing soon how the Republicans plan to cut future Medicare spending. I’d so much rather have a debate as to how to cut future health care spending than over whether we should.


    • Kind of encouraging, but we probably shouldnt get our hopes up too high. Ryan has never gotten any legislation into law except for the naming of a post office. So, I would expect his budget to be another red meat proposal for his base. However, it at least means that the GOP is back to putting Medicare spending on the table.


    • Glad to have you back in the Blogosphere! People may be biased, but they are not stupid (most of them anyway). I wish the politicos would stop trying to preserve Medicare as it is. The GOP has to agree to revenue and the Progressives to structural changes in benefits, e.g.: Means Testing. Raising the age does not solve the problem because morbitity rates are not mortality rates, and a 66 year-old without insurance who gets sick still costs some party money.

    • Should be interesting to see whether they can really crack the Generic Biologics nut. This has been on the table for a long time, but it is a very difficult regulatory nut to crack.

      It is quite easy to prove that conventional drugs from two sources are identical, and then it just comes down to bioavailability, which can be tested in small and quick clinical trials.

      We are a very long way away from proving that biologics from two sources are identical, and may never be able to do that. Very subtle differences in biologics can have a big influence on metabolism, tissue distribution, and safety.

      It is always going to take some kind of efficacy and safety trial to show equivalence, and it is very challenging to define the rules for this in a way that assures patient well-being and still doesn’t create an insurmountable barrier to entry for generic companies.

      My guess is that, if they pull this off at all, the price differential between branded and generic Biologics will be pretty small compared to conventional drugs.