Actually, It Is the Projected Growth of Private Sector Health Care Costs That Is Unsustainable, Not Medicare

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Monday, 04 April 2011 05:06

That is what a real newspaper would have told readers when it quoted House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan saying:

"There is nobody saying that Medicare can stay in its current path."

However the Rupert Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal did not provide this information. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services projects that health care costs will rise rapidly in coming decades. While health care is overwhelmingly provided by the private sector, the rise in costs is projected to lead to large budget deficits because more than half of health care is paid for through public sector programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

If these projections prove accurate then it will have a devastating impact on the economy regardless of what happens to the public sector health care programs. On the other hand, if per person health care costs were brought in line with costs in other wealthy country, the government would be facing large surpluses, not deficits.

This article also tells readers that the debate will cause Congress to debate the role of government in the economy. It is not clear why it would lead to a debate over the role of government, the immediate issue being debating is cutting Medicare. The WSJ may want a debate over the role in government, but politicians in Congress are unlikely to conduct such a debate.