Derek Thompson is at it again. I especially like this mistake where he writes "Ryan proposes to cure health care inflation by capping Medicare payments to beneficiaries at $15,000. How will that help a senior pay for medical expenses that exceed $15,000? It won't." This is stupid beyond words. The Ryan plan does not give seniors 15,000 dollars to buy health care and if they incur greater than 15,000 worth of expenses they have nothing. In fact, the Ryan plan will give different groups of seniors varying amounts of money (lower-income and sicker seniors will get larger subsidies) in order to buy health insurance that offers a package of benefits (hospitalization etc.) This way, insurers that can offer the widest array of services at a lower price would get more customers (this approach makes even more sense in a more broadly liberalized health care market.) This can't be repeated enough: Either the Derek Thompsons of the world are in favor of ruinous tax increases to pay for an unsustainable long-term projected rate of increase in Medicare spending or we are arguing about how to bring costs down to a sustainable level.
The choice here is pretty simple. Let companies compete to offer seniors a set of benefits based on price, or have the government ration care based on what a bureaucrat thinks a particular senior should have. We can have patient-centered care or bureaucrat-centered care. These are our choices.