For some reason Fred Hiatt thinks (or at least says) that Democrats are opposed to cutting the excessive payments that our health care system makes to many providers. In yet another column bemoaning the budget deficit, Hiatt told readers:
"Revenue will have to go up, and the rising arc of health care and pension spending will have to be bent down. Democrats hate the latter, Republicans hate the former, and voters don’t like either."
While Democrats and Republicans (the voters, if not the politicians) hate the idea of cutting Social Security, it is not obvious that either group is opposed to eliminating the enormous waste in our health care system. The United States pays more than twice as much per person for its health care than other wealthy countries. If health care costs in the United States were comparable to those in other wealthy countries we would be looking at long-term budget surpluses not deficits. Fixing our health care system would seem an obvious way to go address the projections of large long-term deficits.
Remarkably, Hiatt never mentions that large deficits that the country is currently experiencing are entirely the result of the economic collapse in 2008. Prior to the collapse the country was experiencing modest deficits and was projected to continue to see modest deficits for the foreseeable future.
This column also wrongly refers to a report of the Bowles-Simpson commission. In fact, the commission did not issue a report because no proposal received support of the necessary majority to be approved by the commission. The report to which the column refers is simply the report of the co-chairs, former senator Alan Simpson and former Morgan Stanley director Erskine Bowles.
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