American Enterprise Institute (AEI) adjunct scholar Bryan Dowd is the Mayo Professor of Public Health and the director of graduate programs in health services research and policy at the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. His work at AEI focuses on the economics of health care policy, Medicare reform, and health insurance markets.
A health economist with a Ph.D. in public policy analysis from the University of Pennsylvania, Dowd also has an M.S. in urban administration from Georgia State and a B.A. in architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Competitive bidding, as a vehicle for determining prices for Medicare health plans, holds the promise of substantial cost savings while protecting the health care needs of beneficiaries, regardless of the political question of determining the size of the entitlement.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation asked scholars at the American Enterprise Institute to consider various approaches to reforming this "800-pound gorilla of American health care." The resulting series, “Preserving Medicare for future generations: market based approaches to reform,” includes three papers, each of which addresses a key question in Medicare reform.
Our research shows that competitive bidding—a key feature of the Wyden-Ryan plan—could save Medicare $339 billion over ten years while maintaining basic benefits and without raising taxes. Crucially, the elderly would not be exposed to the risk of higher health care costs, as in approaches that would set fixed voucher payments toward the purchase of medical insurance.
There is a way to fix the Medicare program without raising taxes: use market-like arrangements to set prices for both the traditional fee-for-service (FFS) program and for private Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. A fully implemented competitive pricing system for Medicare would save $550 billion over 10 years.
Medicare is quickly approaching insolvency, in part because the program pays too much for the services it provides. This volume proposes a groundbreaking solution: Use market-based arrangements to set prices for Medicare plans.