My most important post of the decade:
Is that hyperbole? (Related: which decade are we in? The first or second of the century?)
Right now the United States has a for-profit health care system. It already costs a lot and is expected to grow even more. This puts pressure on everybody: individuals, businesses, and the government. Especially the government.
But what if this country abandoned for-profit medical services and made it like a government run (or government regulated) utility? To see how that would impact the federal budget, take a look at this Health Care Budget Deficit Calculator
Unclick the United States - Low Health Care Costs
cell, and then click on France, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, et al.
As Dean Baker says
: (emp add)
Actually, the main reason for the projected increase in the deficit at the end of the decade is rising health care costs which will get passed on in higher costs for Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs. If the United States health care system were as efficient as those in other countries, the U.S. would be expecting huge budget surpluses in future decades.
All the nonsense about a deficit crisis, privatizing Social Security, increasing eligibility ages for Medicare and Social Security, and the like, evaporates if this country decides that it no longer wants a for-profit health care system.
Of course, if you want the big bucks to flow to the health care business, then you jump around calling for deficit commissions and the dismantling of social insurance programs. Which lots of people are keen to do.
NOTE: I've thought about that Budge Deficit Calculator a lot in recent days. Sure, it's speculative, and optimistic projections may be overstated. But if it's anywhere near correct, then we are fools to overlook the implications. If this country adopts a Japan/Canada/Europe system of health care, then the federal budgets will be in great shape, seniors can be well cared for, and existing programs do not have to be diminished.
That's why I call this post the most important of the decade. I don't want to hear anybody complain about budget squeezes and proposed solutions, while ignoring the incredibly huge factor of health care economics. And it's not radical. Developed countries are using it everywhere.
Keep pushing this as no one in the regular media will mention it.
The first decade doesn't end until December 31, 2010. But we live in a world which jumped the gun by an entire year in its zeal to celebrate the millennium. Months and years don't begin with day zero, and decades, centuries and millenniums don't begin with year zero. But good luck getting people to understand that.
Generally, when you take the profit out of industries, they cease to exist.
Why would this become the exception?