Okay folks, mark August 25, 2012 in your calendar. That is the day that Matt Miller clearly stated on the Washington Post op-ed page that the problem is not Medicare, but the broken U.S. health care system. Miller noted that we spend more than twice as large a share of our GDP on health care as the average for other wealthy countries and have little to show for it in terms of outcomes.
He attributes this additional expense to the medical-industrial complex. Miller tells readers:
"It’s [health care entitlement reform] about weaning the members of our medical-industrial complex from their entitlement to far higher payments, despite shabby results, than their counterparts abroad get."
Oh yeah, there it is folks, sitting there for all to see on the op-ed page of the Washington Post, truly amazing. (In fairness, Ezra Klein has made this point many times on his blog.)
So Matt Miller deserves a warm welcome to the reality based community. And the Post op-ed page editors should be congratulated for allowing a serious discussion of health care.
The next question is whether we can talk about some measures to address the problem. My favorite starting point is some free trade in health care: allow Medicare beneficiaries buy into the more efficient programs elsewhere and split the savings in the government. Unfortunately the Post is probably too ideologically committed to protectionism to ever allow an idea like this to appear in the paper.