In an article he has written for next week's Busineeweek (Jan 8, 2007) Steve suggests that the way to get Medicare's house in order is not -- as Democrats are demanding -- to impose price controls or restrict access to products or procedures. Rather:
"We need a way to mobilize recipients into an army ready to battle uncontrolled Medicare spending. Remember that modern armies have one thing in common: Members get paid. Every Medicare beneficiary must be paid to be part of the Medicare solution."
Pay seniors to save their own money and control Medicare spending to boot.
How would it work?
"Medicare beneficiaries would receive an annual rebate of 50 cents for each dollars they save the program. If someone saves Medicare $500, she would get $250. For saving Medicare $5000,, a beneficiary would get $2500. It's that simple."
There are right and wrong ways to cut spending. That's the point of Steve's proposal We have been doing all wrong for too long. We never gave seniors incentives to make healthy and economic choices, they same kind we all would make if we were investing our own dollars to pay our own bills.
One gee-whiz number to chew on: "If the 35 million nondisabled Medicare beneficiaries reduced their spending by a mere 5%, then $13.12 billion would be saved annually. And each 1% reduction adds $2.62 billion in further savings..."
That dough would be split 50-50 by seniors and the Treasury.
All the more reason to promote preventive and effective medicine. We haven't even begun to figure out what a combination of diet, exercise, preventive screens and right meds can do for the cost and impact on chronic illness, at least on a personal level. Steve's proposal makes it possible.