Tuesday, February 24, 2009

That's What It's All About... And No Hokey-Pokey

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has forecast that the share of the economy devoted to health spending will jump a full percentage point this year. The jump from 16.6% to 17.6% would mark the biggest one-year increase recorded since the government began tracking the data in 1960.

Hopefully, this will put to rest the notion that we can't afford to do health reform right away. There are signs that people are getting this message:

New York Times: "While some people have predicted that Mr. Obama would have to shelve his priorities given rising deficits, his determination to proceed, especially on health care, reflects his economic advisers' conviction that the government cannot control its finances without reforming health care."

Long Island Newsday: "Whenever this tsunami of acute economic problems finally ebbs, the chronic problem of out-of-control medical costs will take center stage as an impediment to a healthy future," and while "it may take broad reform to fashion an affordable, sustainable health care system ... the effort has to start now," a Newsday editorial states.

Joe Conason, Salon: Neither the fiscal responsibility summit "nor any other serious discussion of fiscal problems can be confined to entitlement programs -- because the underlying issue is health care costs."


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