Arnold Kling  

Mainstream economists agree that we are Greece

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The latest survey of the IGM panel of economists poses this:


Long run fiscal sustainability in the U.S. will require cuts in currently promised Medicare and Medicaid benefits and/or tax increases that include higher taxes on households with incomes below $250,000.

No one disagreed, although Emanuel Saez (who voted "uncertain") wrote,

The key is controlling health care costs growth which does not necessarily imply reneging on Medicaid/Medicare benefits promises

David Cutler is also optimistic about the strategy of having experts (like David Cutler) handle health care decisions.

there is so much waste in health care that if we do it right, we'll very significantly reduce the costs of care.

To me, the sensible approach would be to cut back on promised benefits until (unless?) the expert plans to get rid of waste pan out.

Regardless of what these economists think, I still fear that when it comes to the budget these days, the political center has no power.


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CATEGORIES: Fiscal Policy



COMMENTS (5 to date)
BillD writes:

Anyone who believes the gov't can control health care cost growth is wishing and hoping...
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/anemia-drug-made-billions-but-at-what-cost/2012/07/19/gJQAX5yqwW_story.html

Daniel Artz writes:

Controlling health care costs is not a job for the Government. The out of control growth of medical costs over the last two decades is NOT a result of market failure, it is a direct result of regulatory failure, and if PPACA (i.e., "ObamaCare") is allowed to go into full effect, the growth in health care costs will accelerate. We haven't had a truly free market in medical care in at least 60 years, and growing the insurance market, while requiring that health insurance cover more and more regular, recurring expenses, like annual physicals, vaccinations, etc., and even purely elective medical costs, simply makes the problem worse by adding additional adverse incentives to overuse health care services, increasing inefficiency in health care delivery. But you can't convince the average voter that Congress is incapable of "fixing" a problem that is largely the creation of past poor policy decisions.

mick writes:

Waste is usually caused by intervention. This justifies more intervention until the waste is public property and all objection is lost.

John Thacker writes:

"Centrists" have power, it's just a different type of centrist. The centrism that has power now is the grouping that wants all the spending proposed without any of the taxes to pay for it. That's a centrism that attracts more swing votes than the sort of "cut the deficit" centrism.

Mike Rulle writes:

Agree of course with your sentiment. It almost feels like an accident of history, that our health care system evolved this way. But the interests of so many are so intertwined with 3rd party pay and its vast maze like implementation that it feels like the best we can do is somehow just slow it down a little.

Not show sure what the center is. Before ObamaCare, some large majority liked their healthcare----when it already was on the road to serfdom. Now we are on the fast lane to serfdom.

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