Peter Orszag Criticizes Republican Medicare Plan

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Peter Orszag has been largely out of the public eye since early 2011, when he began his tenure at Citi Bank after serving since 2008 as President Obama’s budget director. Still, as major budget crises and other economic debates have continued to divide the nation’s two political parties, the economist has periodically weighed in on a number of pressing financial issues—most recently, the proposed Medicare plan from Republican Paul Ryan.

Peter Orszag has been largely out of the public eye since early 2011, when he began his tenure at Citi Bank after serving since 2008 as President Obama’s budget director. Still, as major budget crises and other economic debates have continued to divide the nation’s two political parties, the economist has periodically weighed in on a number of pressing financial issues—most recently, the proposed Medicare plan from Republican Paul Ryan.

Unsurprisingly, Peter Orszag’s assessment of the plan is not a favorable one. Writing in an op-ed piece for the Blomberg news network, the economist writes that, Ryan’s plan is essentially “a shift… toward consumer-driven healthcare,” and that the entire plan is predicated on increasing the cost to consumers in order to make the healthcare system more efficient.

What Peter Orszag ultimately claims, however, is that the Ryan model would ultimately increase the overall cost of healthcare significantly. Writes Orszag, “the plan would not only fail to decrease health-care costs per beneficiary, it would increase them –- by an astonishingly large amount that grows over time. By 2030, health spending on the typical beneficiary would be more than 40 percent higher under the Ryan plan than under existing Medicare…”

Peter Orszag is only the latest in a long string of critics to voice skepticism as to how viable the Ryan plan truly is. Still, Peter Orszag’s words are among the strongest yet leveled at the Ryan Medicare proposal. He says of the plan, “Health-care costs would not be reduced on the backs of seniors; they would be raised on the backs of seniors.”

His editorial about the Medicare plan is just one of many recent examples of Peter Orszag speaking publicly about current economic hot-button issues. It follows quickly on the heels of comments Orszag made at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, where he advocated the ending of the Bush tax cuts. Peter Orszag continues to write occasional op-ed pieces for the Bloomberg endeavor, where he serves as one of the chief economic experts.

ABOUT:

A distinguished American economist with degrees from Princeton and the London School of Economics, Peter Orszag has served in both the public and private sectors. He was the youngest member of the Obama cabinet, serving as the primary budget officer, and also served as an advisor to Presidents Clinton and Bush. A frequent op-ed contributor to both Bloomberg and the New York Times, Peter Orszag currently works as a vice president for Citi Bank.

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Brad Pendleton
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