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  • The Impending Public Plan Spending Disaster

    In his Jimmy Carter-esque “New Foundation” speech Tuesday, President Barack Obama linked health care reform and deficit reduction claiming: “If we want to get serious about fiscal discipline … we will also have to get serious about entitlement reform. Make no mistake: health care reform is entitlement reform.”

    Problem is, Obama’s health care reform plan includes a Medicare-for-all like public plan that will “compete” with private plans. The idea that the path to reduced health care spending must go through expanding Medicare is laughable. former Political Science professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy Jeffrey Anderson details why:

    Since 1970, our overall national health expenditures (NHE) apart from Medicare and Medicaid have risen 83 percent in relation to the gross domestic product (GDP). Meanwhile, the cost of Medicare has risen 304 percent versus GDP–and that is without even counting the relatively new Medicare prescription drug benefit. The passage of decades hasn’t notably improved the government’s performance: Since 1990, NHE apart from Medicare and Medicaid has risen 19 percent versus GDP, while the cost of Medicare has risen 57 percent versus GDP.

    So, while the costs of American health-care have increased greatly in recent decades, such costs haven’t, by any stretch, increased evenly across the board. Since 1970, the cost of all health care in America apart from the two biggest government-run programs has not even doubled versus GDP. Over that same span, Medicare’s cost versus GDP has more than quadrupled.

    And yet the president and the Democratic Congress want to adopt more Medicare-like programs to cut costs?

    President Obama has a laundry list of small ball measures he claims will reduce Medicare’s costs, but like us, the Washington Post finds these proposals wanting:

    He maintained yesterday that “health care reform is entitlement reform.” But the health-care savings he has identified are all directed to new health-care spending, and, even then, they cover only a fraction of the likely costs of a health-care bill — of what would become yet another entitlement program.

    If the President is serious about entitlement reform, the savings his budget purposes for Medicare and Medicaid would be redirected back into those programs to restore their solvency rather than spending those savings on expanding coverage to other programs. Medicare and Medicaid are giant entitlements, imposing enormous financial burdens on current and future generations.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to The Impending Public Plan Spending Disaster

    1. pandN says:

      How can medicare be an entitlement program, when every working, tax paying individual in America has apid this tax, every single pay check on their way to 65? Not only paid for it, but part of their Socail Security retirement payment that they receive has a nice hefty deduction for medicare medicine and (new) dental advantage plans. Seniors were taxed on Social Security, and they continue to be taxed on it… plus pay for medical insurance. I do not call medicare an entitlement… whereas medicaid is!

    2. Tim Schneider MD says:

      Entitlements take the responsibility away from the individual and puts in directly on the governments "lap". Health and wellness can only be improved if one takes personal responsibility for health behavior. The only way that health care in America will change is if one takes personal responsibility for their health. If you are obese, it is because you "ate it". If you have lung cancer, it may be because you "smoked it". If you have juvenile diabetes, it may be because you are a 200 lb. 10-year old. The only way health practices change in America is if each person has some "skin in the game" and has a reason to change their behavior. The government can't do this.

    3. Beth Neuhausel, RN says:

      These programs are entitlements because people who NEVER paid into them are receiving benefits, ie Illegal Immigrants, LAZY Americans who somehow manage to get classified as "disabled" in their 30's and 40's, (and are not) just working the system and stealing benefits. That's how and why! As a Home Health nurse I see this waste of our hard earned money on a daily basis.

    4. Beth Neuhausel, RN says:

      Not one illegal immigrant should be afforded benefits paid for by hard working Americans, but happens daily. No one who is 30 and morbidly obese should receive entitlements because they are eating themselves to death, and don't get me started on the convenient "pyschologically disabled".

    5. neil davidson los an says:


    6. Pingback: Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report Feature Highlights Recent Blog Entries « Eclectic Buzz Blog

    7. Nan - MA says:

      Social Security and Medicare is not an entitlement. I have paid into this program for 55 yrs. When I retired I received SS from my dead husband, because I got more money. I am still working part-time and still paying into the program. The real entitlements are the retirement and medical benefits that our politicians receive when and if they leave office. When we receive that raise in benefits every January, we also pay more for medicare. I don't mind that because it's the only thing I can afford. But don't call it an entitlement.

    8. mulp, nh says:

      The US health care system is like GM: poor quality, high costs, and failing to provide what the people want. We need to switch to one of the health care systems that are like Honda, Toyota, Kia, VW.

      The much maligned Canadian system delivers a life expectancy of 80.4 years vs the US 77.8, while costing only 10.7% of GDP vs the US 15.3% of GDP. The total health care spending, public and private, in Canada is expected to be US$5,170 per person vs $7,439 in the US.

      Of course, dozens of nations with the kinds of health care systems you claim will destroy the US deliver better outcomes in health while costing significantly less. Until you can offer an example of at least one nation with a system that meets your requirements and that costs less, your advice is as good as that of those claim to know how to make GM profitable.

    9. Bob, Dayton Ohio says:

      With President Obama appearing to be pushing the envelope (to put it mildly) as to whether he is overstepping his authority on some of the issues he is attempting to push down the throats of American's (without even allowing us the time to read the bills for the most part), is this Judge (if Appointed) prepared to step up and vote against Obama when and if he has overstepped his bounds and/or authority, or is she going to be inclined to vote for broader Presidential Powers due to circumstances or when there is some source of ambiguity? In other words, is she a leftist in favor of large government, or is she more of a moderate in favor of a smaller government?

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