The Diagnosis and Treatment of Medicare argues that Medicare is in critical condition. Spending has risen dramatically since the program’s inception, growing from about $200 billion to $450 billion over the last decade. Expenditures have consistently grown at twice the rate of inflation, and at times much faster, outstripping economic growth and absorbing a growing share of federal revenue. The situation will only worsen in the coming decades. As the Baby Boom generation reaches 65, Medicare’s demands on federal revenues will climb even more sharply. Left unchecked, Medicare spending threatens to crowd out federal funding for education, energy, the environment, defense, and other important policy priorities.
Economists Andrew J. Rettenmaier and Thomas R. Saving offer an innovative remedy to Medicare’s woes. The Diagnosis and Treatment of Medicare calls for a rethinking of Medicare’s financing, its benefit structure and its future. They dissect the existing Medicare program, evaluate a series of previously suggested remedies, and put forward their own “prepayment” solution.
Praise for The Diagnosis and Treatment of Medicare:
"A must read. Rettenmaier and Saving cut through the heated rhetoric and inscrutable figures that plague Medicare discussions, providing a clear, readable explanation of what's wrong with the program and what's to be done. They haven't simply written a great book; they've performed a crucial public service."
--David Gratzer, senior fellow, Manhattan Institute
"This is by far the most comprehensive and compelling analysis produced to date of the long-term fiscal challenge posed by Medicare. The authors render with great clarity and precision just how and why the economic burden of financing the health care of America's senior citizens will mushroom in the decades ahead, as well as the nature and consequences for future generations of taxpayers and beneficiaries of the various generic remedies--bitter medicine all--available to federal policymakers. The book makes a strong case for fundamental reform of Medicare and aptly demonstrates that the sooner such reform is undertaken, the less onerous will be the consequences."
--John L. Palmer, university professor and dean-emeritus, The Maxwell School of Syracuse University, and public trustee of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds (2000-07)
"This book forces us to confront the unpleasant and unavoidable facts about the heavy financial burden Medicare will impose on future generations. The authors clearly demonstrate the shortfalls of current proposals and the painful tradeoffs among them. This book will have a significant, sobering, and positive impact on the Medicare reform debate, and will certainly be read carefully by policymakers and researchers around the country involved in Medicare reform."
--John F. Cogan, Leonard and Shirley Ely senior fellow, Hoover Institution, and professor of public policy, Stanford University
"This book is a tour de force in its description of Medicare's financial crisis. It examines several reform options and its carefully calibrated analysis shows that piecemeal reforms would not successfully avert a future fiscal crisis--even those involving seemingly draconian benefit cuts. The authors present some real approaches to soften Medicare’s future financial crunch--such as prepaid health insurance that would effectively increase our national saving, productivity, and output."
--Jagadeesh Gokhale, senior fellow, Cato Institute
Andrew J. Rettenmaier is the executive associate director at the Private Enterprise Research Center at Texas A&M University. He is an adjunct associate professor at Texas A&M University and a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.
Thomas R. Saving is director of the Private Enterprise Research Center at Texas A&M University. A university distinguished professor of economics at Texas A&M University, he also holds the Jeff Montgomery professorship in economics and is a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.