unsustainable costs (cont)

unsustainable costs (cont)

We were talking about unsustainable costs.  I and many others have asked the question — how is this to be funded?  Both the House and Senate have been struggling with this Herculean task.  And now we have new headlines.

House formulating plans for a surtax on the wealthiest of Americans.  Well it’s only 2.5% of the population.  And it does hold true to the President’s pledge not to tax the middle class.  And one could argue that the wealthiest of Americans have already benefited mightily from the Bush tax cut years.  Whatever that was.

But … this is an unwise long term solution.  It has a nice ring to it.  A Robin Hood approach.  Let’s all sharpen our pitchforks.

But is not a good long-term solution, nor even a workable solution.  What we need is real honesty.   Let us level with the American public.  Let us ask the question, “how much are you willing to personally pay in increased taxes?”   Everyone across the board.  The French enjoy high quality public services.  But they are willing to pay high taxes.  So do the Swedes.

We cannot continue to foster the something for nothing mantra forever. There is no free lunch.  How much are you willing to spend per person to solve this “health care crisis?”

Remember, this crisis is not new.  This crisis is well documented for the last 20 years.  This is not a sudden “freezing of the markets.”   The real crisis is not even being discussed — rapidly plummeting quality of care.

I will update as new estimates from the CBO (Congressional budget office) and other nonpartisan agencies weigh in.

“The coverage proposals in this legislation would expand federal spending on healthcare to a significant degree and in our analysis so far we don’t see other provisions in this legislation reducing federal health spending by a corresponding degree,” CBO director Douglas Elmendorf told the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

CBO Health Costs
CBO Health Financing Estimates

The bottom line is we simply do not have the funds to cover everyone.  And wait until you see the law of unintended consequences played out.  The big players — insurance carriers, big Pharma, corporate hospital chains — will not lose.  Keep your eye on the ball.

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