Why Not Fix Medicare First?

"Nearly 30 percent of Medicare's costs could be saved without adverse health consequences," according to the President's Council of Economic Advisors. If so, Virgina Postrel wants to know, why don't we fix this before trying to make the rest of the health sector more like Medicare?

Think about this for a moment. Medicare is a huge, single-payer, government-run program. It ought to provide the perfect environment for experimentation. If more-efficient government management can slash health-care costs by addressing all these problems, why not start with Medicare? Let's see what "better management" looks like applied to Medicare before we roll it out to the rest of the country.

This is not a completely cynical suggestion. Medicare is, for instance, a logical place to start to design better electronic records systems and the incentives to use them. But you do have to wonder why a report that claims that Medicare is wasting 30 percent of its spending thinks it's making a case for making the rest of the health care system more like Medicare.

More from Mickey Kaus here.