Democrats claimed that one of the virtues of the health care legislation passed last month is that it will reduce health care costs. Surely few of them actually believed it, as evidenced by the fact that they refused to wait for a complete analysis of the bill by the Congressional Budget Office before pushing for a final vote.
Now that the CBO report has been released, we find that health care costs will continue to rise, and that Americans will spend more than $35 trillion between 2010 and 2019. But someone, please help me with the math. According to the same report, Americans are currently spending $2.5 trillion for health care each year, for a ten-year figure of $25 trillion. It then says that the increase will amount to only "nine-tenths of one percent." Really? From $25 trillion to $35 trillion?
But, of course we've been told that increases in cost (or at least the government's part of it) will be offset by reductions in wasteful spending in Medicare. But the Department of Health and Human Services warns that the proposed cuts--to take effect this fall--could drive as many as fifteen percent of the nation's hospitals into debt. The elimination of the Medicare Advantage program will also mean increased out-of-pocket expenses for senior citizens. All of which means that it would be political suicide for Congress to authorize these cuts during an election year.