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August 29, 2012 3:39 PM Why Can’t We Get Some Simple Answers on Health Care?

By Aaron Carroll

I’m so tempted to just repost this piece from last year, but suffice it to say – this campaign ain’t the last one. Say what you will about it, but it was chock full of details on Democratic plans for health care reform.

This time around, we’ve got a ton of proposals that contradict each other. There’s Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget (now abandoned). There’s Ryan-Wyden. There’s Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget (which Wyden doesn’t support). There’s Mitt Romney’s “plan“. And now there’s the Republican party platform.

So Medicare will both stay a defined benefit program and be saved by no longer being a defined benefit program. We will eliminate the $700+ billion in savings to the trust fund, yet extend its life. We will not cut any benefits, but will reduce Medicare spending dramatically. We will increase Medicare spending, but somehow not seniors’ premiums.

All of this could, of course, be explained by a few questions and some direct answers. In this election, though, I suspect neither are forthcoming.

P.S. Don’t even get me started on the utter lack of interest by the press in Medicaid at all.

[Cross-posted at The Incidental Economist]

Aaron Carroll ,MD, is an associate professor of Pediatrics and the associate director of Children’s Health Services Research at Indiana University School of Medicine.