Thompson admits he doesn't know if Medicare plan would save money

2012-10-20T10:00:00Z 2012-11-04T09:22:47Z Thompson admits he doesn't know if Medicare plan would save moneyBy Dee J. Hall | Wisconsin State Journal La Crosse Tribune

U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson acknowledged Friday that he doesn't know whether his latest plan to change Medicare will save recipients or the federal government any money.

Thompson, the Republican governor of Wisconsin from 1988 to 2001, outlined the plan before the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board: Allow those who are 50 by the year 2020 to either stay on Medicare or join the same health insurance plan that members of Congress and federal employees have.

Asked how much the plan would cost, Thompson initially said the Congressional Budget Office had evaluated his plan and "it has been projected that it would save money." He later acknowledged that the nonpartisan CBO had not evaluated the plan.

"I have not scored it," Thompson said, adding that since he is not in office, "I have no ability to score it."

A side-by-side evaluation of Medicare and the federal employee health insurance program done in September found the federal plan grew by an average of 7.1 percent per enrollee per year compared to a 5.8 percent average growth rate for traditional Medicare.

The evaluation was commissioned by Kaiser Health News, the nonprofit health care news arm of the Kaiser Family Foundation. The organization reported that the data analysis and interviews with experts showed the federal employee plan "had not held down costs per enrollee as efficiently as Medicare during the past decade."

Medicare has become a central issue in the race for Senate between Thompson and U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison. Baldwin campaign spokesman John Kraus said Thompson's plan is "something he came up with in the last week or two."

Kraus accused Thompson — who ran Medicare for four years while secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — of changing his stance to appeal to voters nervous about big changes in Medicare.

Thompson had been a vocal supporter of the plan by vice presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan that calls for recipients to receive a set amount of money with which to purchase either traditional Medicare benefits or a private plan.

"For the last year, he has stood very firm in support of the Ryan plan to end the guarantee of Medicare in favor of a voucher plan," Kraus said. "The last month of the race, he's trying to run away from the Ryan plan."

Last week, a Kaiser Family Foundation study concluded that under Ryan's plan, 59 percent of retirees and the disabled on Medicare would pay more for health care, ranging from hundreds to thousands more per year, depending on where they live. In Wisconsin, 10 percent of Medicare recipients would pay at least $100 more per month, the study predicted.

On Friday, Thompson described his latest proposal this way: "This is a plan by Paul Ryan, I've modified it. I think my plan is better."

Bobby Peterson, president of the health care advocacy group ABC for Health, credited Thompson for creative thinking when he established BadgerCare, a public-private program administered by the state that now ensures 700,000 low- and moderate-income Wisconsin residents.

But, said Peterson, "I'm skeptical about this brainchild — whether it would help or hurt health care costs."

Asked why he is proposing a plan with no known price tag, Thompson called it "a giant step in the right direction."

"Medicare is going broke, and we have to do something about it," he said. "It's a plan. It's a plan that I believe more than likely will work."

Copyright 2015 La Crosse Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(25) Comments

  1. lookout
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    lookout - October 21, 2012 7:26 am
    Nobody can change anyone's mind on this site. Everyone seems to be quoting the facts by pro Republicans or pro Dems. The only way anyone can use they vote for any good is stay away from any organization the has any ties to either. Search out the facts for yourself. For every fact, you can find one to discredit it. If you don't have an open mind about the search, you may as well stop before you even start. From what I see here, even if I were to prove without a shadow of a doubt that one side is completely wrong, some still wouldn't change their view. EVER! Some things are so imbedded into people minds, that it could be called a form of brain washing. An open mind is the only way to true success.
  2. David Lee
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    David Lee - October 21, 2012 6:39 am
    I wonder why Returd's like independent and retiredone. either are afraid to actually answer a question, and I'm talking a very simple direct question or are the afraid of facts. First independent, retired claimed the post he made was in, not the right wing rag Forbes's, try reading comprehension. ======================================================Retired, where is the proof it's in snoops and why can't you stay on point instead of making up your own nonsense to try to seem relevant? If you don't have the limited intelligence to follow a blog, perhaps you can have someone help you because you and independent obviously are not capable on your own. The story by the way is about Thompson, and his lies.
  3. David Lee
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    David Lee - October 21, 2012 6:30 am
    Then why did he create the unfunded prescription drug program. The largest unfunded program in the history of the United States?
  4. Hoot55
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    Hoot55 - October 21, 2012 4:59 am
    But he lied. I don't trust dishonest people.
  5. independent
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    independent - October 21, 2012 3:19 am

    some reading for you, clara.
  6. independent
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    independent - October 21, 2012 3:07 am

    A must read for you.
  7. independent
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    independent - October 21, 2012 3:01 am
    Thompson is looking for solutions to keep medicare solvent for generations to come. not just for those who are 55 or older. He admits his plan has not been vetted by the CBO, but plans from Ryan and Rand Paul have, his plan modifies theirs by adding a choice of "traditional medicare" or the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan, instead of premium support (payments from Medicare direct to the insurer of your choice). CBO does not evaluate candidate plans (unless they are proposed in congress or senate). So CBO has evaluated Ryan's and Paul's plans.

    this may be a long read, so I'll lose some trolls at this point.

    Medicare goes broke by 2024, less than 12 years from now, according to the CBO and medicare actuaries.

    Does anyone want to dispute that? Please do, with specific evidence that refutes the It goes broke if we do nothing about it. So anyone 55 and younger will not have the medicare. they have paid for If we do nothing.

    So, if you ARE working and ARE paying medicare taxes today, and ARE 55 or younger, please pay attention. What is happening today is medicare taxes and premiums are paying today's medicare bills for today's medicare recipients. the medicare trust fund (which is actually US treasuries AKA past financing of government deficit spending converted to debt payable to medicare) is $244 billion. the trust fund represents what is left of what current medicare recipients paid in while working. Medicare cashes in the treasuries as needed to cover the annual shortfall of received medicare taxes every year. So this pile of treasuries represents the going broke part of the equation - when the trust fund is depleated, medicare is limited to only current revenues going to cover current recipients.

    Simply put, out of pocket costs and premiums to future Medicare recipients will increase exponentially by 2024. If we do nothing today.

    What Obamacare did was take $716 billion from Medicare to go toward Obamacare. It did this by cutting future projected payment rates allowed for Medicare services (doctors, hospitals, nursing homes). It then takes these "savings" out of Medicare - to fund half of Obamacare. Actually $500 billion leaves Medicare for Obamacare, the $216 billion left over extends Medicare solvency for 6 years 2016 to 2024. Still insolvent by 2024.

    The major difference in Ryan's budget and Thompson's proposals is they DO NOT take the savings out of Medicare! This is the beauty of saving Medicare for generations to come. So, if you are 55 or under, Medicare will be there for you under Ryan's proposal.

    Thompson's proposal differs from Ryan's in that it uses insurers in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan, with the mantra that if its good enough insurance for your Senator to have, its good enough for you. This is the debate that must be had in Washington. But this is the only way Medicare can be saved for generations to come.

    Thompson's position on using the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan over traditional Medicare is a new one. But Tommy is a reformer and an expert on healthcare. Tommy is also a bi-partisan leader, with this goal: to reform Medicare so it will be there for us, for all 55 and younger. Current Medicare enrollees DO NOT lose anything under their plans. However, under Obamacare, they are also screwed in 2024.

    Bottom line: Obamacare will bankrupt Medicare by 2024. Ryan's plan will keep it solvent for decades to come partly because it DOES NOT take money out of Medicare, like Obamacare does.

    Thompson's plan may be better than Ryan's if the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (a marketplace of private insurers federal employees can choose from) is better than setting up a new marketplace for competing Medicare alternative plans.

    Political spin in Thompson's interview with the Journal does not quantify savings over Ryan's plan or traditional Medicare. However, BOTH plans perform one essential function: Extend the life of medicare far beyond 2024.

    If you really care about the issue of Medicare, do some of your own research. News stories are not research. Campaign clips are not research. Non-partisan sources are good research, start with wikipedia and their links to many sources:

    Or believe the one-liner trolls and left leaning media - let someone else tell you what to think.

    Thompson is looking for long term solutions instead of kicking the can down the road. Obamacare kicks the can and robs medicare of $716 trillion. Thompson and Ryan both keep the money in Medicare.
  8. Cassandra
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    Cassandra - October 20, 2012 11:46 pm
    "He later acknowledged that the nonpartisan CBO had not evaluated the plan." In other words, Thompson LIED. Come on, people! Why would anyone vote for this clown who blatantly lies about his plans? The same goes for the rest of the republicans on the ticket. They are LYING about their plans and the financial and social cost burden they will put on the working people of this country.
  9. Clara Fying
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    Clara Fying - October 20, 2012 11:05 pm
    Yes, Balancr, and retiredone can only resort to calling names and trying to change the subject with lies about Obama.

    retiredone first tried labeling (same as name calling) David Lee for stating that the article shows Tommy Thomspon lies and added a lie claiming Snopes supports a lie about Obama to distract from the facts in the article. As David Lee later pointed out that is an off-topic distraction from the article about Tommy Thomson lying, and retiredone still hasn't addressed that because he can't refute the truth.

    And when retiredone can't provide a link to the Snopes article because it doesn't exist, his defense is to call names and claim others lie.

    I agree, Balancr, perhaps retiredone does not know the definition of lie.
  10. Balancr
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    Balancr - October 20, 2012 9:40 pm
    That's not a lie retiredone. Perhaps you don't know the definition
  11. retiredone
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    retiredone - October 20, 2012 9:08 pm
    Obama the head jerk said he could do it in three years. What say you now lookout for facts
  12. retiredone
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    retiredone - October 20, 2012 9:07 pm
    Clara is a big a jerk as David Lee. Ignore the democrap lies for everyone from Obama to Reid to Pelosi. Disgusting
  13. takka
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    takka - October 20, 2012 7:04 pm
    Tommy Thompson is a boozer and a womanizer and that is a fact!! I thought that The Republican Party was the party of values?? Can't wait for Scooter to be led out in shackles!!
  14. Hoot55
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    Hoot55 - October 20, 2012 6:02 pm
    By his own admission, Tommy was not truthful about the major issue being discussed in the race between him and Tammy.

    Yet many Wisconsin voters will still cast their vote for someone who has lied to them, been caught, and unrepentful for his actions.

    I guess I never realized that so many Wisconsin voters never finished school in Texas.
  15. Napoleon
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    Napoleon - October 20, 2012 5:35 pm
    "...Tommy Thompson acknowledged Friday that he doesn't know..."

    Tommy, stupidity is not a virtue....

  16. David Lee
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    David Lee - October 20, 2012 4:39 pm
    Retiredumber. THis story is about thompson. Is that so hard to understand. Thompson lied. Defend that einstein.
  17. Clara Fying
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    Clara Fying - October 20, 2012 3:38 pm
    retiredone, you are lying. Snopes never said Obama stole billions of dollars from Medicare help fund Obamacare.

    If you think this is true, provide a link showing it did; that's easy to do. Looking for it may help you to realize that the people and places from which you are getting your information are lying to you.
  18. lookout
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    lookout - October 20, 2012 3:05 pm
    By the way, I don't take much salt in either party, I just vote for the lesser of the two evils. But what I do, do, is look for my answers in places that have no political ties. The worst place, from politicians, second place is TV and the last place anyone should look or hear is word of mouth because a friend told you.
  19. lookout
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    lookout - October 20, 2012 2:52 pm
    I'd like to see those lies. Show us I've never read that anywhere. At least not on a site that wasn't pro Republican. Pro Republican yes, what else do they have to run on, look how bad they messed up our country before Obama took office. For those who think their mess could be fixed in 3 1/2 years like fair tails. It toke 20 years for this country to get over anything like this before, which was the great depression. Your theft of money argument is is a joke. Even economist say your arguement about the so called theft doesn't whole any water. Actual read what happened and why it happened.
  20. pheasant
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    pheasant - October 20, 2012 12:23 pm
    Think of Tommy like this- A guy that had a big appointment in Washinton. Filling a ball with money, and throwing it long, running for it after him leaving, and catching it in private life.

    No I might be wrong........several balls!
  21. pheasant
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    pheasant - October 20, 2012 11:58 am
    Oh, and the thousands of employees based in Lacrosse?
  22. pheasant
    Report Abuse
    pheasant - October 20, 2012 11:57 am
    Please soemone ask him if he remembers LHI? LOL!!!!!
  23. lookout
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    lookout - October 20, 2012 11:51 am
    The one's not a lined with any political party say our healthcare well cost us alot more under that Ryan, Thomson, Romney plan. Why would anyone vote for that? And yes Tommy your just a bad lier along with the rest.
  24. retiredone
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    retiredone - October 20, 2012 11:47 am
    DAVID--QUIT SMOKING THAT STUFF. Want to see lies-try Snopes on Obama and his theft of billions of $ from Medicare to help fund NObama care. Or check the fiscal record of Tammy Baldwin-typical demorap answer to everything is spend MORE that we don't have. OMG=Obama Must Go.
  25. David Lee
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    David Lee - October 20, 2012 11:21 am
    So tommy lied when he claimed his plan would save money. Then he lied when he said the Congressional Budget Office had evaluated his plan and "it has been projected that it would save money. No matter what way you try to spin it. Tommy is a LIAR.
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