Today President Obama submits his budget outline to Congress, and, with it, a $634 billion fund for health care drawn from higher individual and small business taxes and lower reimbursements to medical providers.
Reform of our health care system is long overdue. If you’re unemployed, or work for a small business that offers no health plan, or someone in your family has an existing illness known as a “pre-existing condition,” your main concern might be how to get health insurance.
As Obama said on Tuesday night in his address to the nation, “We can no longer afford to put health care reform on hold.” But setting up a $643 billion fund and raising taxes in the middle of a recession isn’t necessarily affordable either.
In testimony yesterday before the Senate Committee on Finance, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf presented options for controlling health care costs. He warned that “reducing or slowing spending over the long term would probably require decreasing the pace of adopting new treatments and procedures and limiting the breadth of their application.” That’s rationing by another name, not a comfortable concept to Americans. (To read the testimony in pdf format, click here.)