Medicare, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, needs to be fixed. But if backers of reform frame that change primarily as a way to reduce federal spending, they are doomed to fail.
The other day, former Republican senator Judd Gregg wrote a guest column in The Hill newspaper about a gathering of policy wonks at Dartmouth College aimed at reforming the health care program for seniors. Gregg, co-chair of Fix the Debt, a nonpartisan group that wants to slow the flow of federal red ink, tried to thread the needle. The Dartmouth group, he wrote, was looking “both to improve the delivery of Medicare to seniors and to reduce its unsustainable cost path, which is a large driver of the nation’s debt.”