Yesterday I noted a new Congressional Budget Office report concluding that Medicare's cost-saving pilot programs didn't end up saving money or improving care. In an article on the same report, The Washington Post's Sarah Kliff says that the results are "a troublesome sign for the health reform law's soon-to-launch attempts to curb Medicare spending." They are.
And as Cato Health Policy Director Michael Cannon points out, those signs have been apparent for a while, at least for anyone paying attention. Indeed, there's never been much reason to be confident that the various Medicare cuts and delivery system reforms built into the health care overhaul will pay off, which is why organizations ranging from the CBO to the International Monetary Fund to Medicare's own actuaries have expressed skepticism about counting on those savings. But rather than test the effectiveness of those programs first, the Obama administration and its backers in Congress chose to make a bet that the hoped-for savings would eventually pay off, and used them to help fund a substantial portion of a trilion dollar new entitlement.