Lessons From Obamacare

David Cutler's perspective on Ryan's Medicare voucher system:

Supporters for the Romney-Ryan approach to Medicare have a new talking point. They say a new study by “three liberal Harvard economists” proves that the plan’s competition will reduce health care costs without harming beneficiaries. But the study doesn’t say that. And I should know. I’m one of the economists who wrote it.

Cutler views Obamacare as a test for seeing how vouchers, sometimes called "premium support," might work:

At the very least, it makes sense to see how premium-support works in the non-elderly population, since their health needs overall are less severe. The Affordable Care Act does that, by creating “exchanges” for people who don’t have employer-sponsored coverage. Watching and learning from that initiative would help in designing a workable system for the elderly. That is why, on many counts, the biggest lesson is that allowing the Affordable Care Act to work—rather than trying to take it off the books—might be the best way for premium support to succeed.