With the death of the debate over the public option Senate leadership has turned its sights to a hefty expansion of government programs already in existence – namely, Medicare and Medicaid.
As seen by the numerous closed door meetings in the past two weeks, Democratic leaders are set on ensuring the success of this new effort – as it could very well be the last hope they have to secure a government-run healthcare system. But many (including many in the Senate) are starting to realize just what a move like this could mean for taxpayers, not to mention the deficit.
The Associated Press reports today, Democrats don’t have the votes needed to pass this proposal. Perhaps this is why:
Let’s look at Medicare. Along with Social Security, Medicare already represents the nation’s largest unfunded liability. According to the Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports for 2009, Medicare alone has an unfunded liability of almost $38 trillion. Medicare in fact consumes 47 percent of total health care spending in the country. Now add services and benefits for another 10 million people, the 55 and up crowd.
Result = crowd out of private insurance (an estimated 17 million people) further burdening the system, followed immediately by underpayment of doctors and hospitals, leading inevitably to less accessibility and availability of care and yes, higher premiums and higher taxes for all – resting on a government program that is teetering near the edge of bankruptcy.
Lowers health care costs and reduces the deficit? – not so much.
Sounds a lot like single payer, though, doesn’t it? …