Hoisted from the Archives: Brad DeLong in Unctuous, Smug Pre-Great Recession Mode on the Varieties of "Keynesianism"
Winston S. Churchill and Ted Briggs Liveblog World War II: May 23, 1941

Robert Pear on the Manyfold Flaws of the Republican Party

Paul Krugman quotes Robert Pear:

The FEHB Deceptionm: Robert Pear:

House Republicans say their budget proposal would make Medicare work just like the health insurance that covers federal employees, including members of Congress. But a close examination shows the two plans are very different, and the differences help explain why the Republican plan has set off a political uproar.

And comments:

What Pear doesn’t quite say is how central this patently false claim — actually, it doesn’t take a “close examination” to see that it’s a lie, a quick skim is quite enough — has been to Republican talking points. Tell me again about how honest and serious Paul Ryan is?

Robert Pear continues:

Medicare Proposal Financing Differs From Federal Employee Plan: Under the federal employees’ health plan, which covers eight million people, the government pays a fixed share of premiums. So the federal contribution generally keeps pace with rising premiums, which in turn reflect rising health costs. No such guarantee exists under the Republicans’ plan to transform Medicare, approved by the House.... [T]he Congressional Budget Office says, under the Republican plan, Medicare would pay a shrinking share of beneficiaries’ total health costs, and seniors would pay a growing share. For a typical 65-year-old, that share would be 68 percent in 2030, more than twice what it would be under current law....

House Republicans have repeatedly likened their proposal to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, in which most lawmakers are enrolled.... Under their proposal, House Republicans say, Medicare would subsidize private health plans offered to beneficiaries, just as the federal government helps pay premiums for private health plans offered to its employees. But Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said the similarities ended there. “We keep hearing that Republicans are offering seniors exactly what members of Congress get,” Mr. Van Hollen said. “It simply is not true.”... [T]he government pays three-fourths of the premium for relatively inexpensive health plans and about two-thirds of the premium for those that cost more than the average....

Even so, Conor Sweeney, a spokesman for Mr. Ryan, insisted that the comparison to the federal employees’ plan was valid. “The model, the structure, the approach is inarguably similar: the government pays a share of the individual’s premiums” in both the employee program and the House Republicans’ Medicare proposal.

So Paul Ryan and his spokesman say, as long as Medicare pays even $1/year toward the cost of buying health insurance, the Ryan Plan is "inarguably similar" to FEHBP.