The rising costs of Medicare and Medicaid threaten to destroy the nation's fiscal future, but President Obama is pushing for healthcare reform that would increase costs. Instead, he should refocus his presidency on paying down debt.
America's obligations over the next 75 years now surpass $62 trillion, up 8 percent since last year. And a new report released today by the Peterson Foundation suggests that total will go even higher if the House's health care legislation is passed.
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With today's pliant bond market, it's easy to pretend we can have things that can't be paid for. But that's the kind of attitude that led California into the fiscal abyss. We have to get serious about bringing our expenses in line with our income. Now.
Unfortunately Republicans and Democrats alike are more concerned with winning elections than passing good public policy. Republicans told us "deficits don't matter," signed a prescription drug benefit for Medicare that created a bigger fiscal hole than Social Security, waged two very expensive wars financed with debt, and borrowed to bail out banks.
For their part, Democrats complain about the deficit they "inherited," then proceed to expand the bailouts, pass hundreds of billions worth of "stimulus," and try to increase our health care liabilities over and above already unsustainable levels.