• Quote: Tick, Tock…

    From John C. Lewin, G. Lawrence Atkins, and Larry McNeely, “The Elusive Path to Health Care Sustainability” in JAMA:

    Despite the recent slowdown in health care inflation, particularly in Medicare and Medicaid, increases in health care costs threaten to exceed the nation’s capacity to pay… Even if per-capita health spending slows to the same rate as overall economic growth, increasing numbers of aging beneficiaries will alone double Medicare spending in 10 years while increasing private sector prices increase the burden on businesses and families. [emphasis added]

    @Bill_Gardner

     

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    • This is just the usual fear-mongering. This country has a large ability to pay.
      We have the ability to spend $750 Billion a year (5% of GDP) to start and sustain wars all over the world.
      Our corporations earn $1,800 Billion in profits each year.
      (I should also note that we waste about 1/3rd of the money we spend on health care.)
      There is lots of money. We have the ability to provide everyone with real “best in the world” health care (not the false “best” we have now).
      We need the political will to face up to the corporations which profit from wasteful military and health care spending and also tax those same corporations and the rich 1% to pay for whatever we need.

      • Mark,
        That’s a strong rejoinder and I have some sympathy with it. But I am also impressed with Don Taylor’s arguments that the expansion of Medicare will foreclose the possibility of investment in any other social priority.

        I should have been clearer about why I’m worried about the ticking clock. I’m a ‘kid person’ — a child psychologist working in a pediatrics department. Spending all of our social resources on health care for the elderly strikes me as really bad idea. So I think liberals should urgently seek ways to make the health care system more cost effective.

        • The original quote was about Medicare but my response (though not stated) was intended to apply more broadly.
          This country can afford to spend more on good health care for everyone.
          However, if the spending was focused on effective prevention and treatment (and not our current wasteful spending), we could cover everyone for the same amount we currently spend on partial coverage. Every other developed country spends less than we do and covers a larger part of their population with higher quality care.
          This will require a more active government role regulating spending. The problem is that the corporations who profit from the spending now control the government.

      • I should also note that we waste about 1/3rd of the money we spend on health care.

        From what I have read I think that we waste much more than 1/3rd, maybe 2/3rds to 3/4.

        I agree that we cutting defense spending to less that 1/2 what it is today would not hurt us much but I do not see coronation’s profits as a problem.

        Also sure we do have plenty of money but why waste it?

        • tax those same corporations and the rich 1% to pay for whatever we need.

          If you think in terms of consumption, that is for someone to consume more someone else has to consume less, how much do you really think you can get from the rich though corporate taxes and taxing the top 1% of earners? For example, it is not likely that at any possible level of taxation you could get Warren Buffet to consume less.

    • Floccina,
      “If you think in terms of consumption, that is for someone to consume more someone else has to consume less”
      I never learned anything like this in economics. There is no fixed supply of consumption goods.
      “how much do you really think you can get from the rich though corporate taxes and taxing the top 1% of earners?”
      Lots.
      $ 1,800 trillion in corporate profits.
      The top 1% earn about $ 1.5 trillion
      Tax rates should go up to the 91% rate we had back in 1956 when the economy was booming.