ICYMI: Register-Guard Lauds Wyden’s Efforts on Medicare Reform, Compares to Buying Wine

On Friday, the Register-Guard’s Don Kahle published an opinion piece on the challenges to reform government-run health care, highlighting Senator Wyden’s innovative and bipartisan efforts to improve health care for seniors while adding more choice and competition. Earlier this spring Wyden also introduced legislation with Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) which experts say could save Medicare billions by helping seniors get and stay healthy.

 “The Medicare reform package put together by Wyden — along with Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. — uses a Vickrey auction to set local prices for privately run health care plans. Government-run Medicare coverage would then be required to at least match that benefit package. Those on the political left expect the “single-payer” option (aka traditional Medicare) to offer more benefits at the same price.

Wyden has shrewdly devised a system where the private sector sets the price and defines the package of benefits.

Government sets the minimum coverage required by all, but then only has to match or exceed what the Vickrey auction winner will provide.

Setting limits or recognizing synergies will be done by companies competing for access to the senior health care market.

Wyden’s plan has outsourced any “death panels” to private companies. Sometimes, we do want a government that “leads from behind.”

What does all this have to do with wine?

Restaurateurs long ago noticed that diners instinctively emulate a Vickrey auction. Most choose the second cheapest wine on the menu.

Restaurant owners take advantage of this tendency and often make their second least expensive wine also their most profitable. In other words, you may be getting less quality at a higher price when you choose the wine that looks “safest” to your eye (and your social pride.)

Wine lists are in this way no different than medical procedures.

Whether it’s a Rogue Valley cabernet or a silver nitrate ulcer cauterization, consumers lack information about what it should cost. And they’re in no place or mood to do the necessary research.

But Wyden does his homework. His plan combines the efficiency of capitalism with the effectiveness of government.

I’d trust him to fill the glasses before these two leaders toast Oregon’s inventive medical solutions.”

Click here to read the full Register-Guard article.

Click here to learn about Senator Wyden’s bipartisan Medicare reform proposal.

Click here to learn about Senators Wyden & Portman’s Better Health Rewards program.