I’m taking advantage of the national conversation on Medicare to challenge my assumptions and actually learn something. This morning’s column by Robert J. Samuelson in the Washington Post, entitled “Why Ryan might be right about Medicare” helps me understand the conservative position. From the column:

The central issue here is whether the runaway costs of the health sector, comprising nearly one-fifth of the economy, can be controlled without eroding medical quality. Almost everyone agrees that the delivery system — the amalgam of hospitals, clinics, doctors and nurses — should be reorganized to lower costs and eliminate unneeded care. The question is how.

… Limits must be imposed on the health sector. There are no pleasing ways to do this. Still, the increasing evidence from large-scale experience is that market mechanisms offer the best chance of reconciling Americans’ desire for personal choice with cost control. If there are better ideas, let’s hear them. Otherwise, we shouldn’t reject the obvious merely because it’s unfamiliar.