Then there is Medicare. Medicare is a trickier problem. Because it’s not the problem: The American health care system is. As Henry Aaron, the centrist Brookings health care expert has testified, our fiscal threats “derive entirely from projected increases in national health care spending, not from problems peculiar to government health care or entitlement spending.” As such, “materially slowing the growth of Medicare and Medicaid apart from general health system reform is impossible.” In other words: Raising the eligibility age or cutting benefits does not solve the problem. It does not solve the problem for the private sector, of course, but it does not solve the problem for the public sector, either. The problem is driven by rapid growth in health care costs. If you do not arrest that growth — in both the public and private sectors — and you instead raise the eligibility age for Medicare, you will just have to do it again. And again. And again.
In other words… the Concord Coalition approach isn’t going to help. What’s required is structural reform. The kind of reform that is likely to be very disruptive and costly in the short term. But if we don’t invest, we’ll be looking at the complete collapse of confidence in treasuries.
Honestly, if Obama did absolutely nothing with his mandate but fix this one issue, he still will have done a great service to our country for countless generations to come.
Pretty soon, fixing this won’t be optional and that will pretty much kill a pure free market private insurance system anyway. I would rather not learn that lesson the hard way first,… the lesson is already hard enough.