Megan responds here. A reader retorts:
Pace McArdle, health reform is nothing like Medicare Part D. Medicare Part D is available to all beneficiaries regardless of income. The subsidies provided in the reform bills scale with income and are in place to make workable a mandate that will, by itself, lower the average cost of individual care relative to current law. Additionally, health subsidies are fully funded for 10 years according to stingy estimates by the CBO (that don't jive with reform advocates' predictions of how reform will bend the cost curve). On top of that, Obama's now pledged that deficit neutrality will be written into the bill; finding new funding or modifying the program would require Congressional action in the future. There is simply no comparison between Medicare Part D and health reform.
I think you're being far too kind to her commentary. In fact, the CBO scoring of the HELP bill, which has the most generous subsidies proposed at 400% of the federal poverty line shows total subsidies costing $140B/yr 10 years from now. Medicare Part D is expected to hit that mark a year earlier according to Kaiser's projections ... and, you know, Congress is actually going to fund health subsidies by fining employers that don't providing insurance, etc.