Heathcare reform again from Mankiw’s blog

美国医疗保险改革计划中使用了很多假设来计算改革计划的成本。在这些假设条件下,新的改革计划能让更多人享受更好的保险,而纳税人不用多花一分钱。国会预算办公室批评说,很多假设都很不现实。这件事让我想起了钱学森当年证明亩产能到3万斤时所用的种种假设。不过幸好美国有国会预算办公室这种机构。

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Assuming a Can Opener

I have previously expressed skepticism about the projected Medicare savings assumed in the health reform bill making its way through Congress. If these savings don’t materialize as Congress now posits, the bill will not turn out to be deficit neutral but, instead, will add to the large fiscal gap we are bequeathing to future generations. In a recent letter, CBO gives some numbers about the projected Medicare cuts in the House bill that show how wildly unrealistic they are:

The bill would put into effect (or leave in effect) a number of procedures that might be difficult to maintain over a long period of time. It would leave in place the 21 percent reduction in the payment rates for physicians currently scheduled for 2010. At the same time, the bill includes a number of provisions that would constrain payment rates for other providers of Medicare services. In particular, increases in payment rates for many providers would be held below the rate of inflation (in expectation of ongoing productivity improvements in the delivery of health care). Based on the extrapolation described above, CBO expects that Medicare spending under the bill would increase at an average annual rate of roughly 6 percent during the next two decades—well below the roughly 8 percent annual growth rate of the past two decades, despite a growing number of Medicare beneficiaries as the baby-boom generation retires.

Thanks to the blog reader who drew this passage to my attention.

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