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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Romer: Containing Health Costs

Christina Romer says, in reference to health care costs, that "serious debate over further cost-savings measures may be a long way off" because "Republicans seem more interested in just limiting the government’s share of health care expenditures than in slowing overall spending":

Only the First Step in Containing Health Costs, by Christina Romer, Commentary, NY Times: Here's a frightening thought: Despite the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act, serious work on more health care legislation is still needed.
Don’t get me wrong: the new law is a great step forward. It is expected to expand health insurance coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans without increasing the deficit, and it makes an important start on reining in the rapid growth of health care costs. ...
Just how much the law will slow spending growth is highly uncertain. The Congressional Budget Office, whose views on this issue fall squarely between the optimists’ and the pessimists’, estimates that it’s likely to reduce the budget deficit by about $1 trillion in its second decade — when the cost-containment measures have had time to pay dividends.
Big as those savings are, they will still leave a huge share of national output dedicated to health care and the federal budget far in the red. ...
Sadly, serious debate over further cost-savings measures may be a long way off. Some Republicans seem more interested in just limiting the government’s share of health care expenditures than in slowing overall spending. And some Democrats seem more interested in just preserving existing government programs than in making the entire health care system more efficient.
For the sake of the nation’s fiscal health, and the health and economic security of American families, it’s time to embrace cost containment in health care as the next great legislative challenge.

[The article details the cost-saving measures in the health care legislation, and discusses further steps that could be taken, but shies away from any suggestion that we adopt the types of universal care health care systems that have worked to contain costs in other countries.]

    Posted by on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 04:05 PM in Economics, Health Care, Politics | Permalink  Comments (52)


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