Thursday, April 07, 2005

Sometimes They Get It Right

David Broder is not my favorite pundit, not by a long shot. However, occasionally he not only writes something that makes sense, he does it with some grace rather than his usual superior glibness.

His column on April 6, 2005 found here is one of those good hits.

After meeting with Dean Baker and David Rosnick, Mr. Broder got a lesson on the real crisis facing America:

"Between 1980 and 2004, the growth in health care costs exceeded that of per capita gross domestic product by 12.6 percent. In just the next 10 years, that gap is projected to grow an additional 7.2 percent.

"By either the CBO or the Social Security trustees' estimates, the hit to the economy from runaway health care costs is far greater than the potential damage of a Social Security tax increase. The ratios range from four times as great to 18 times as great, depending on which estimates one chooses. "

And yet, all of our attention is focussed on Social Security, not on health care costs that makes Social Security look like penny ante stuff. Medicare is in worse trouble than Social Security, and it's only been made worse by the prescription 'benefit.' Medicaid threatens to bankrupt states.

Anyone without health insurance knows it's almost impossible to even get in the door of a doctor's office, leaving the hospital emergency room the only option. Even with health insurance, complete financial disaster is just one heart attack or stroke, one automobile accident, or one cancer diagnosis away. Many more bankruptcies were filed by decent people wiped out by medical bills than by deadbeats, and now even bankruptcy relief looks to be impossible for the average citizen.

Americans pay far more health care costs than any other industrialized nation. We deserve better, and our Congress should start dealing with the problem. Broder got it right this time.


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