Medicare bill: vouchers on the horizon

http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20031215&s=cohn121503

Ugh. Guess I need to start saving more money for my parent’s retirement…

All of this raises the question: If private-sector reforms like the one Bush signed won’t actually make Medicare more efficient, why are they so popular with conservatives? One common argument is that a system of competing private plans will eventually result in lower overall spending than would be politically possible under the current, centralized government system. It’s an intuitively attractive argument that, once again, is completely inconsistent with the facts. During the early and mid-'90s, private health insurance indeed reduced spending while Medicare’s costs soared. But, since the late '90s, the exact opposite has happened. Private insurance costs have soared while Medicare has held spending closer to inflation.