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.”
Worse, had he had that ability, things wouldn’t have turned out well for him. According to the report, a study was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. That study found that costs in a plan similar to Thompson’s “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 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,’” WSJ reports. So not only didn’t the CBO score his plan, but if they had it probably would’ve shown it was all snake oil.
Still, this does establish Thompson as a mainstream Republican — in that if you ask him to prove something, he answers, “Sure! Here’s some numbers, fresh from being pulled straight out of my butt.”