Paul Krugman: Messing With Medicare

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The crucial thing to remember is that our goal isn’t,or at least shouldn’t be,defined in terms of some arbitrary number.Our goal should be, instead, to give Americans the health care they need at a price the country can afford.And throwing Americans in their mid-60s off Medicare moves us away from that goal, not toward it.For Medicare, with all its flaws, works better than private insurance. It has less bureaucracy and, hence, lower administrative costs than private insurers.It has been more successful in controlling costs.While Medicare expenses per beneficiary have soared over the past 40 years,they’ve risen significantly less than private insurance premiums.And since Medicare-type systems in other advanced countries have much lower costs than the uniquely privatized US system,there’s good reason to believe that Medicare reform can do a lot to control costs in the future.

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