Sunday, May 01, 2011

Medicare 'Math' - NPR Style

After hearing Saturday's All Things Considered slam on Medicare hosted by Guy Raz, I contacted Dean Baker who writes the Beat the Press blog on economic misinformation in the media at the (Center for Economic and Policy Research) CEPR Website. With his permission I've cross-posted his take-down of NPR's sloppy anti-Medicare report.

[originally posted at Beat the Press]

Is NPR Unable to Get Access to Data on Health Care Costs

It seems that NPR is unable to get access to data from the OECD or even the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services. If it were, it would not have so badly misinformed listeners about Medicare costs yesterday.

NPR told listeners that Medicare's costs are unsustainable and that the reason is that patients do not see the cost of their treatment. Actually, private sector health care costs have risen as rapidly on an age-adjusted basis as Medicare. Furthermore, health care costs in the United States average more than twice as much per person as costs in countries like the United Kingdom and the Netherlands where patients see a much smaller share of their costs than they do under the Medicare system. If the United States paid the same amount per person for health care as these or any other wealthy country it would be looking at huge budget surpluses in the long-term, not deficits.

The article also mentioned Representative Ryan's plan without pointing out that the Congressional Budget Office's projections show that it would hugely raise the cost of providing care to retirees. The CBO projections imply that the Ryan plan, which was passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives last month, would raise the cost of buying Medicare equivalent insurance policies by $34 trillion over Medicare's 75-year planning period. This is almost 7 times the size of the projected Social Security shortfall.

In this context it is probably worth mentioning that the Republicans in Congress have targeted NPR for budget cuts.


JayV said...

I am so glad you have decided to write about the Raz Report this weekend. I was dumbfounded by the laziness. Thanks for getting in touch with Dean Baker; I was hoping he'd write about this.

Did you also notice how Guy Raz used the examples of a steel worker, a town librarian? Probably selfish union members, eh? I have no proof, though.

geoff said...

I'll add my thanks to JayV's! That was a piece designed to kiss the rings of the Koch Bros (hell, NPR just seems to want to kiss them all over!)

[apologies to Exile]
NPR on radio, Dave, going to Koch your fire
All day I have been thinkin´ about you, Dave
You and Charles, NPR desire

Going to blanket the air for you
Tell all those liberals just who
Woo, Dave you wet Scott Simon's lips
We'll invent your fantasy, yea

What would NPR do without you, Dave
Don´t know where NPR would be
Koch stories are all NPR will cover
Yes, we'll invent the world for thee

NPR time with you, Davey
Liberals believe it is true
When NPR's lyin´ with you and Charles
And we invent those things for you

Americans take it in the ears
They can feel you with our touch
You do not have to say a thing
Just let us show how much
We love you, we need you, yea

NPR will kiss you all over
And over again
NPR will kiss you all over
Until the night closes in
Until the night closes in

bee'pee'eff'bee said...

RE Exile:

Chuckles to G-Dawg! And that was before they done went country!

(glad I finished off my morning tea before that one, lest a snort of Earl Grey splatter yon monitor screen)

(word verification: "rackso")

Anonymous said...

NPR has some nerve criticizing programs like medicare.

The folks at NPR sneer at what they consider to be "socialism" while at the same time sucking down public dollars like there was no tomorrow.

What a bunch of hypocrites.

Folks like Guy Raz have no shame.