Thursday, June 4, 2009

Costs , national debt, Medicare- A Trillion Here, A Trillion There

The late Republican Senator Everett Dirksen, who died in 1969, was famous for saying, “a million here and a million rhere: pretty soon we’ll be talking real money.”

Well, that was 40 years ago. Now in 2009, we’re really talking about real money.
Here’s a trillion dollar snapshot.

• U.S. Expenditures on health care this year $2.3 trillion
• Ten year Cost of Obama health reform proposals $1.3 trillion
• Estimated expenditures in 2017 $4.3 trillion
• Medicare and Medicaid expenditures $1.1 trillion
• Unfunded liability of Social Security $52 trillion
And Medicare
• Unfunded liability of Medicare $34 trillion
• Budget deficit in 2009, roughly double $1.8 trillion
2008 deficit

Are these trillion dollar expenditures worrisome? The Republicans and 51 Blue Dog Democrats think so. So do many Americans who are concerned that the government is printing too much money and who see endless deficits for their children and grandchildren.

But not the Obama administration and most Democratic supporters. They are betting now is the time for health reform, and the deficit be damned. They believe most Americans place a larger priority on reform than on a huge and growing deficit. They believe nothing can stop the momentum for sweeping health reforms, e.g., a public plan as an alternative to private plans, government negotiated drug, a mandate that everyone should buy insurance, an obligation for employers to cover employees, and taxing employer-provided health benefits.

Obama says he is “open” to all of these options,including deficits as far as the eye can see, as long as health reform gets done.

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