Viewpoints: 'Zombie' plans for Medicare; James Baker's grand bargain advice; Conservative govs' choices

Published on November 16, 2012 at 11:48 PM · No Comments

The New York Times: Life, Death And Deficits
America's political landscape is infested with many zombie ideas -; beliefs about policy that have been repeatedly refuted with evidence and analysis but refuse to die. ... the most dangerous zombie is probably the claim that rising life expectancy justifies a rise in both the Social Security retirement age and the age of eligibility for Medicare. ... What would happen if we raised the Medicare eligibility age? The federal government would save only a small amount of money, because younger seniors are relatively healthy and hence low-cost. Meanwhile, however, those seniors would face sharply higher out-of-pocket costs. How could this trade-off be considered good policy? (Paul Krugman, 11/15).

The Wall Street Journal: How To Get To A Grand Bargain
One way to generate the necessary political will for a deal would be to establish a mechanism guaranteeing that any agreed-upon spending cuts actually happen-;and then remain in place after taxes are raised. ... If a part of any grand bargain is that the wealthy should pay more in taxes, why not means-test entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security, two of the biggest contributors to our deficits? This wouldn't hinder economic growth as much as raising marginal tax rates would (James A. Baker III, 11/15).

The Washington Post: Putting Obamacare Into Effect
Should conservatives help implement the Affordable Care Act, the health-care law they detest? For months, it seemed that Republican state leaders hoped they would not need to decide. ... Now conservative governors are facing their first deadline to decide how much they will cooperate with a federal government that will push forward. ... The more states that take an active role in this experimentation, the more likely that Congress's bet on America's laboratories of democracy will pay off (11/15).

The Arizona Republic: Exchange Must Stay Within State's Control
As of today, the [Obamacare] law is embracing us, one way or another. The choice before Gov. Jan Brewer today is whether to take some measure of state control of the sweeping health-care reforms by creating for Arizona one of the law's signature health-insurance "exchanges." ... The responsible choice going forward is to consider the state's best interest once the law is in effect. And that would be with a state-controlled exchange (11/16).

Los Angeles Times: Mitt Romney's Misperception Of President Obama's 'Gifts'
(Mitt Romney's) explanation is beyond simplistic, ahistorical and more than a little self-serving. Didn't polls show throughout the election year that most Americans opposed healthcare reform? Didn't Republicans think the policy would prove so problematic that they hung it around the president's neck, with the epithet "Obamacare?" How many candidates have won the White House just by delivering up pork? Romney couldn't be expected to acknowledge that he offered up "gifts" of his own (James Rainey, 11/15).

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