We don’t want it. We can’t pay for it. Yet the health-care juggernaut continues. If it is not stopped, our country faces financial disaster. John Ellis explains why the Democrats’ claims that there will be cuts to offset costs are baloney:
The context within which all of this takes place is that Medicare is headed for insolvency, and that the nation is running a ruinously large deficit. Cuts in Medicare were always going to be needed to deal with that program’s looming bankruptcy, and the political difficulty of making them guaranteed that they could never be large enough to solve the problem. As to the deficit, a search for new sources of revenue was always on the cards, and there too the political difficulty of enacting tax increases would also rule out anything large enough to solve that problem. And so in a context of impending Medicare insolvency and a massive deficit, whatever Medicare cuts and new taxes might turn out to be politically feasible, they were already spoken for.
The Medicare funding crisis and the deficit have a prior claim on them, and for that reason they can’t be thought of as offsets to the Baucus bill’s spending at all. Baucus claimed them for his bill’s balance sheet, but the mere fact that he put them there doesn’t make it right to do so.
Think of it this way: imagine that your household is living beyond its means and has run up a very large debt. You think up some ways of cutting your household expenses and earning some more money so that you can accumulate cash to pay off your debt and begin to live within your budget.