Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How Paul Ryan's Budget Would Harm "Sick and Vulnerable Citizens"


Brought to you courtesy of Patrick's employer.

9 comments:

TJE said...

"Ryan's plan to slash Medicaid by more than a third over the next decade." PBM, isn't it the case that under Ryan plan Medicaid spending would *increase* by at least $30,000,000,000 over the next decade?

Patrick_L said...

And apparently demographic trends (aging population, increasing population that leads to more disabled people) and rising systemwide health care costs well above inflation are illuisionary and facts to be ignored.

This kind of thinking that you propose Professor Eismeier would justify framing a variety of examples as increased spending, when really this perspective leads to nonsensical results.

Let's do a personalized example to demonstrate the flaws with this way of thinking:

Hamilton College could maybe have 100 professors in 2010 and pay them $100k each in real dollars. Then in 2020 they could have 200 professors in 2020 and pay them $51k each in real dollars (either defined as year 2010 or 2020 dollars, it doesn't matter). Total facutly compensation in 2010 would have been $10 million, while total faculty compensation would have been $10.2 million in 2020. Hamilton College could then claim (using the way of thinking Professor Eismeier raised) that they had increased factuly compensation by 2% over a decade (they're now spending $200k more! on faculty compensation), when in fact they cut compensation by 49%.

This scenario uses the exact same way of thinking that you suggest- spending on faculty compensation/Medicaid increased, when really benefits are dramatically slashed.

How many professors at Hamilton College would be fine if the College tried to use this way of thinking in determining compensation? It doesn't seem so pleasant when you're on the receiving end of a 49% cut. But Hamilton College would just point out that they actually *increased* spending.

TJE said...

Mr. L, I was simply suggesting to PBM that the article would have been more accurate (and persuasive) if it stated that Ryan's plan would reduce medicaid spending *compared to currently law*. I believe that is the way CBPP describes the "cut."

Speaking of nonsensical examples: Suppose in the salad days of the 1990's Hamilton College projected average salary increases of 6% for the next decade. But in a recession the average increases were 3%. Would your headline be "HC slashes salaries!"?

Patrick_L said...

My level of problem and characterization about your second scenario would depend on what the 6% versus 3% formula was based on- obviously factors like inflation should be taken into account. Recessions generally lead to less inflation, so that decreases the size of real difference in compensation with 6% annual growth versus 3%. In a low inflation period, 3% annual increases might be considered adequate salary increases for increased experience or whatever.

I know what underlying issue you are getting at, and yes I agree that there is some ...trickiness... to projecting and how it can be presented. However, with many government programs- as would be true in your Hamilton example- you do have to take into account people making plans in response to expectations about the future (namely that Hamilton said 6% annual increases). So projected increases over time- even ones that aren't tied to factors like inflation, demographics, etc.- are still important to consider.

TJE said...

I don't disagree, but the hyperbole in PBM's original post is both inaccurate and probably not usefulfor the cause. CBPP's wording is better.

Patrick_L said...

agreed- most journalists are sloppy and could do with a nice, rigorous Hamilton College education.

Patrick_L said...

And yes, "Paul Ryan's Moral Barbarism" is clearly way over the top.

PBM said...

I think the headline of the article is over the top, but I don't think my headline is too much. I guess I could have said "How the Ryan Plan would reduce coverage for sick and vulnerable citizens," but that is what I meant. It will clearly cut benefits for the poor, sick and vulnerable citizens who are currently insured by Medicaid. That is what I, and I think this author, would like Paul Ryan and other GOP members to admit. They can't just pretend that this is just "cutting government spending," and "getting our debt under control," and "we need shared sacrifice" when their plan cuts medical benefits to the poor while cutting taxes for the rich.

Patrick_L said...

don't worry PBM, your headline was fine. The only word choice problem I see anywhere's is Chait using the "Barbarism" to describe Ryan's plan. I certainly think, for instance, that Ryan's proposal is immoral and cowardly for wanting to massively cut programs for low-income, sick, disabled, and elderly people in Medicaid (or from other programs like Pell Grants, food assistance, low-income housing, and whatever additional travesties they tie themselves to once they start moving appropriations bills where they start getting specific about what they're going to cut). Especially considering he simultaneously seeks to cut taxes for the wealthiest families.