Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I know I harp on health care costs all the time.  Well, almost all the time.  But it’s because they are huge.  Way more than any other country.  And, they’re growing too fast as well.

Now, many claim that the ACA will “bend the curve” and slow the growth of costs.  But how much?  Well, since the CBO has been doing most of the heavy lifting so far, no reason to let them stop now.  CBO director Doug Elmendorf recently gave a talk to the Annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy on the economic and budget outlook.  What’s the verdict?  Here are outlays for 2020:

Do you see Medicare there?  It’s almost $900 billion.  We’ll be spending more on Medicare than on Defense.  This doesn’t include Medicaid (another $444 billion).  Together, they will cost more than Social Security.  More than interest on the debt.  more than all discretionary (other) spending total.

You want to balance the budget?  Ain’t gonna happen.  Not while health care costs this much.  And we haven’t even added in private spending on insurance, out-of-pocket costs, or the cost of reform (which is small compared to the big M’s).

We need to seriously get a handle on health care costs.  The sooner everyone starts to accept that, the better we’ll be.

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