Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Entitlements

Trumpcare Would Cripple Medicaid

A couple weeks ago, we talked about how the American Health Care Act (Trumpcare) would undermine the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) by weakening the individual mandate and distributing flat subsidies indexed to age rather than income. The CBO confirmed the level of damage this would do, estimating that 24 million additional Americans would lose coverage by 2026, increasing the uninsured population from 28 million to 52 million. But these projected losses are not wholly attributed to the changes to the mandate and the subsidies–they are also attributed to a provision of Trumpcare which block grants Medicaid. So today I want to talk about how Trumpcare changes the way Medicaid works.

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Misconceptions: The United States is Not “Too Big” to be More Like Denmark

Since the Democratic Party debate, folks have been talking about Bernie Sanders‘ desire to make the United States more like Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. One of the most common responses to Sanders I’ve heard is the idea that the United States is too big to successfully imitate the Nordic countries. During the debate, Anderson Cooper himself said:

Denmark is a country that has a population — Denmark is a country that has a population of 5.6 million people.

I’ve seen the same thought echoed by many people, even people who are otherwise quite sympathetic to Sanders. This is very odd, because if we subject this thought to even the tiniest amount of scrutiny, it collapses.

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The Democratic Party Debate: 5 Reasons Why Sanders Won and Clinton Lost

I watched the first Democratic Party debate, hosted by CNN. CNN also hosted the second Republican Party debate, and in both debates it tried to get the candidates to fight each other on camera for the entertainment of the viewing public, repeatedly asking questions designed to get candidates to criticize or attack one another. In the republican debate, this tactic worked perhaps too well–the debate deteriorated into a series of personal attacks, with little relevant policy content. For that reason, I didn’t bother to write up an analysis of the second republican debate–there was little of substance to analyze. The democratic candidates did a better job of resisting their baser instincts, and we did manage to get some interesting exchanges on serious policy issues, particularly between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. In these exchanges, it was quite clear that Sanders was the winner–his arguments were significantly stronger and more convincing than Clinton’s.

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Jeb Bush’s Plan to Privatize Medicare Would Be a Disaster

US Presidential contender Jeb Bush recently spoke out in favor of the old Paul Ryan plan to “phase out” Medicare and replace it with a voucher program:

Said Bush:

I think a lot of people recognize that we need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits, that are receiving the benefits. But that we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something, because they’re not going to have anything.

When pressed on the point, Bush doubled down:

It took less than a day for me to be attacked for the very thing that I predicted would happen and that’s just ridiculous. We need to have a grown-up conversation about these issues.

Bush argues that if we do not privatize Medicare, the system will collapse. Consequently, he thinks those who disagree with him are not taking the issue seriously. But this argument is grossly misleading–Medicare is in a much stronger financial position than Bush would have us believe, and a privatized system would sharply increase healthcare costs for seniors.

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