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  • Congress Should Fix the Current Health Care Deficit

    The President and his administration keep saying we cannot afford not to push through a major overhaul to the health care system, one-sixth of the U.S. economy. They’re partially right in that we do have a massive problem we can’t afford not to fix. But the focus is all wrong. Instead of creating a new federal health program, Congress needs to address the spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — programs that have existed for decades — that is set to explode.

    Long-term excess costs for Social Security and Medicare alone are $43 trillion. When added to the national debt, that is about $184,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. America’s seniors are going to have to make some tough sacrifices so younger generations like their children and grandchildren aren’t saddled with massive debt to pay for these programs. But forcing them to make these sacrifices in order to create massive new benefits for others is not the way to go about it.

    The more important question right now is how much the nation would actually spend for these proposed reforms to the health care sector. After all, spending must be paid for by either raising taxes or borrowing. The House health care bill would spend roughly $1.3 trillion while the newest Senate bill would spend around $800 billion — both of which are too big. So how would President Obama pay for his new health programs?

    Squeezing Medicare sounds OK, doesn’t it? But it would cut payments to doctors and other providers, on top of Medicare’s already reduced payment rates, so that really means putting the squeeze on your doctor. Cutting private insurance companies really means taking seniors out of the popular and effective Medicare Advantage program and increasing their out-of-pocket costs.

    It also means tax hikes, including some on small business owners, through a high-income “surtax” that would leave America with higher tax rates than Japan, France and Germany, some of our biggest international competitors. And it would mean punitive taxes on insurance companies, crowding out private coverage.

    And by expanding Medicaid, it would also force the states, whose budgets are already fiscally hemorrhaging to bear the cost, since Medicaid is jointly funded by federal and state governments.

    Is Obama’s health care plan really paid for? (Bear in mind there is no Presidential plan, just a blueprint):

    • The Senate Finance Committee bill would cut Medicare benefits for seniors and use the savings to create massive new health benefits seniors don’t qualify for. So, they start with a $43-trillion problem, cut Medicare, increase taxes, pass new benefits and still end up with a $43-trillion problem.
    • The House’s legislation has an even bigger benefit, which also is paid for with new taxes and Medicare cuts. But it isn’t fully funded. The costs aren’t so high in the early years, but by the end of the first decade, they start to skyrocket and would add $9 trillion on top of that $43-trilion problem. That hardly meets the President’s pledge not to sign any legislation that would increase the deficits by one dime — even over the long term.
    • The House version of the President’s health reform is even more alarming because it does bend the health care cost curve, it just bends it UP. That’s why it’s hard to put stock in such things as prevention and wellness to actually result in real savings.

    Rather than create a new federal health program, we should focus on reforming the federal health programs so that they’ll be sustainable for generations to come. Remember, we already have a $43-trillion problem that we can’t afford not to fix.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Congress Should Fix the Current Health Care Deficit

    1. Bill, San Antonio TX says:

      There is really not much more to say. This article says it all.

      Entitlements have the same affect as narcotics; many addicts cannot or will not rehabilitate.

      The really poor and the ones that really need help get lost. Why are we paying social security disability to former drug addicts?

      It all comes back to fraud, waste, and abuse.

      We cannot or will not put the resources toward eliminating the wastage currently in the system. Why is that? Because it is easier to just increase taxes.

      Our only hope is to fix the systems in place and create new programs.

      This dovetails with enforcing ILLEGAL immigratrion. Enforcing is not granting amnesty or we will continue to have the same problems.

      We will never be able to sustain such madness so what good are health care estimates?

      This is reality folks. We have to make the "right" tough choices. That begins by taking care of "citizens" – a great definition can be found in the dictionary.

    2. Linda Lynch, PA says:

      There is no doubt that our healthcare situation needs overhaul but Obama healthcare reform is a disaster. First this government cannot be trusted. They have lied constantly and will continue to do so.

      Second there are individual states right now that have in place programs that support positie actions on the part of the health care member to keep costs down. If the states can do it so can we as a nation.

      Third for the time being illegals have to be dropped from the equation. They also eat into our Social security, medicare and medicaid and don't say they don't receive benefits, they do. I work with some. Granted they are nice people but Americans need to be taken care of first.

      I believe we need to vote down this ridiculous spending for health care reform, rushing to get it through so that Mr Obama can claim victory and payoff his union officials, insurance buddies, etc.

      There are many more persons in the USA who have much better thoughts on what needs to be done to improve our healthcare programs. Once they are improved for current Americans paying for health care then we can address how to pay for those who have none, Americans only, and nothing should be a free ride.

      We are a nation with some of the smartest people in the world, not counting Congress and the White House who would be much better suited to lead the way for healthcare changes. I don't even like the word reform. It's time for the White House to sit down and be quiet for a change. And i9t is time for them to understand the majority of Americans are not interesdted in him taking over their lives, rationing who gets care, and calling all the shots. Its time for Obama and his group and the congress to reread the Constitution of the United States Of America.

      Enough is Enough

      Linda Lynch

    3. Bill, San Antonio TX says:

      CORRECTION:

      OUR ONLY CHOICE IS "NOT" TO CREATE NEW PROGRAMS BUT STREAMLINE AND ELIMINATE FRAUD, WASTE, AND ABUSE IN THE ONES WE HAVE!

    4. Inez Lake Havasu Cit says:

      There have been many suggestions on how to inprove out current healthcare programs. Let's take a closer look at them first. Such as interstate insurance buying,Lowering drug costs, Maybe charging a fee for ER care so the costs are not passed on to hospital charges to insurance co's,Hospital charges are outragious. Perhaps we could find a way to lower those costs. etc

      By the way, has anyone ever done a study on how much money the tax payers are paying for the retirement and healthcare of our polititions? I for one would be very interested in seeing that study.

    5. Melvin Adams says:

      Today I got another email from David Axelrod, Senior Advisor to the President. Perhaps you did too.

      In the email I was asked to watch a 4 minute video that would tell me what “every American needs to know” about the President’s proposed reforms on America’s health care insurance. I did.

      The video was a collection of excerpts from his recent address to the joint sessions. Frankly, it had a lot of appeal. The president looked young and confident. What he said sounded pretty good too. He told me all the things his plan would do for me and every American. No losers. Everyone would win! And better yet, he was going to do all this at no increased cost or taxation. In fact, he was going to save us money while guaranteeing us freedom of choice in our coverage and ensure that no one went without, regardless.

      But as I listened to the promises, a growing awareness of reality settled in. There are basic laws in life that are constant in spite of what people may think. Let’s consider just a couple:

      1. Freedom and privilege are not free. Someone always has to pay. So, who? And how? How much?

      2. Everyone won’t win. So who’s going to lose?

      As I continued to reflect I understood that with political promise, rarely do the ‘feel good moments’ for the listener become reality.

      The promises urgently made and already failed by this president, (to name just one: the necessity and benefits of the financial bailouts and today’s reality) bring me to conclude that I must not fall for promises but figure out principles. They will determine our realities.

      Does America need change in health care insurance? Yes. But let’s be realistic and find a plan that delivers more than promises which can’t be kept.

    6. Melvin Adams, Virgin says:

      Today I got another email from David Axelrod, Senior Advisor to the President. Perhaps you did too.

      In the email I was asked to watch a 4 minute video that would tell me what “every American needs to know” about the President’s proposed reforms on America’s health care insurance. I did.

      The video was a collection of excerpts from his recent address to the joint sessions. Frankly, it had a lot of appeal. The president looked young and confident. What he said sounded pretty good too. He told me all the things his plan would do for me and every American. No losers. Everyone would win! And better yet, he was going to do all this at no increased cost or taxation. In fact, he was going to save us money while guaranteeing us freedom of choice in our coverage and ensure that no one went without, regardless.

      But as I listened to the promises, a growing awareness of reality settled in. There are basic laws in life that are constant in spite of what people may think. Let’s consider just a couple:

      1. Freedom and privilege are not free. Someone always has to pay. So, who? And how? How much?

      2. Everyone won’t win. So who’s going to lose?

      As I continued to reflect I understood that with political promise, rarely do the ‘feel good moments’ for the listener become reality.

      The promises urgently made and already failed by this president, (to name just one: the necessity and benefits of the financial bailouts and today’s reality) bring me to conclude that I must not fall for promises but figure out principles. They will determine our realities.

      Does America need change in health care insurance? Yes. But let’s be realistic and find a plan that delivers more than promises which can’t be kept.

    7. Pingback: Congress Should Fix the Current Health Care Deficit » The Foundry | kozmom news

    8. Audrey says:

      We need a pro-growth agenda that urges congress and the Obama administration to enact policies that bring tax rates in line with our global competitors. We need to keep chipping away at the deficit by taking steps to control wasteful government spending. See http://www.friendsoftheuschamber.com/issues/index

    9. Harry, Illinois says:

      If we can afford to spend a Trillion dollars for a new health care system, we should be able to fix our current programs for much less. As far as a personal mandate requiring everyone to have health insurance, why not just make a one time offer to sign up and join. If they don't take the offer they just have to pay more later on. That's the way Corporations do it. Take it or leave it, but don't come back looking for the same deal later. As far as pre-existing conditions, why is Congress so timid when it comes time to enact legislation forbidding this practice. Just make it unlawful for the Insurance Companies to allow this to happen.

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