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Friday, July 17, 2009

Health Care By Fiat

Without any expansion of federal health benefits, the cost of Medicare and Medicaid is sinking the budget, according to this Congressional Budget Office release:

Under current law, the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, because federal debt will continue to grow much faster than the economy over the long run. Although great uncertainty surrounds long-term fiscal projections, rising costs for health care and the aging of the population will cause federal spending to increase rapidly under any plausible scenario for current law. Unless revenues increase just as rapidly, the rise in spending will produce growing budget deficits. Large budget deficits would reduce national saving, leading to more borrowing from abroad and less domestic investment, which in turn would depress economic growth in the United States. Over time, accumulating debt would cause substantial harm to the economy....

CBO projects that if current laws do not change, federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid combined will grow from roughly 5 percent of GDP today to almost 10 percent by 2035. By 2080, the government would be spending almost as much, as a share of the economy, on just its two major health care programs as it has spent on all of its programs and services in recent years.
The answer to this problem is to move people into the private insurance sector whenever possible through market mechanisms which encourage private competition, and to give consumers the ability to shop for health services based on price and other factors, as they would any other service or product. That would be positive change and real reform. Only through private competition can health costs be brought down without severe rationing of health services by government.

Instead of pursuing market-based solutions which empower consumers, Congress and the Obama administration seek to move more people onto public programs based on models similar to the current unsustainable model. The congressional proposals under consideration do nothing to empower consumers or to limit costs other than through government fiat. History shows, however, that the government option is no option at all.

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  1. I agree with your sentiments. I just wish the Federal Government Spending express train could be stopped.

  2. Everything by fiat! At light speed!

    The health care issue might get a little pushback by the Blue Dogs -- we can only hope that their efforts will be enough to pare down the House version and keep this monster in conference committee a very long time.

  3. The government needs to hurry up and pass a law making health care free before there's no more left.

  4. Why do people think that something is free when it comes from the government? It's not free. It's taken from someone else? And the someone else is those 'evil rich people.' Are you kidding me?

    I'm not rich but it would be nice to be financially free some day. However, I work very hard to get that way by living within my means and delaying gratification in order to have something wonderful in the future. So, am I going to beg someone with more money to fork it over to me? HECK NO. Am I going to let someone making less than me to take my hard earned money away... um... NOT ON YOUR LIFE.

    And it's the same for health care. Do I want the 'wealthy' to pay for my health care (via the government)... no. Why would I when I can work hard enough to get my own coverage? Or, I can establish payment plans when that's not enough. Do I want someone who is poorer than me to take my health benefits away from me, just because they are poor? No way.

    In order for something to be 'free' from the government, it has to be taken from someone else. The government has no money. It has the money it takes from someone else. I would like them to not take from me any more than 10% of my gross income. Heck, my faith asks 10% and does amazing good things with little, if any, waste. If only I could say that about any secular government.