• Health Care Reform is not unaffordable

    Andrew Sullivan (whom I revere) cites Megan McArdle on the questionable necessity of undertaking the HUGE cost of reform:

    Megan unpacks the logic of the following:

    It is safe to enact a program that is going to blow a 10-gauge hole in the Federal budget, because the mere fact that we can’t currently afford to pay for it will force us to, um, do something.

    Yes, we are in a fiscal crisis.  Yes, spending is out of control.  But let’s not lose perspective here.  Let’s say the House bill passes, and it costs $900 billion over 10 years.  That’s an average of $90 billion each year.  Our current health care spending is, conservatively, $2.4 trillion a year.  So here’s a handy pie chart showing the contribution of an additional $90 billion to spending:

    Ah-ha, you say. But that’s not government spending.  The government can’t afford this.  Well, since more than 60% of health care spending is already through public funds, paid for by taxes, government’s portion is already about $1.5 trillion a year.  Here’s the same graph, looking at this new contribution to government spending:

    So, yes, it’s a bigger piece of the pie; it’s not, however, an unimaginable amount if it’s doing some good.  Regardless, when everyone starts freaking out that we need to reduce spending, to, say $800 billion, this is how it will look:

    Can’t see the difference?  Neither can I.

    I think I’ve made my feelings on the necessity for reducing costs, and the shared sacrifice it will require, so please don’t accuse me of ignoring the high cost of health care in favor of never-ending spending.  It’s just that people only seem concerned about the cost of reform, and ignore everything else.  Remember that when some start screaming about “costs”.

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