As Health Access California reminds us, tough economic times are often when sweeping government policies are enacted. President-elect Obama has some tough choices to make. Should he expand existing government programs to help those who are hurt by the economic crisis? Or should he scale back these government programs to show some fiscal responsibility? Or is starting a universal health insurance plan a good idea?
A NEJM editorial states that “The expansion of health care to large populations is expensive, and presidents may need to quiet their inner economists.” If policymakers quiet their inner economist, not only will I be out of a job, but health care will get a lot more expensive. Joe Paduda agrees that a focus on cost-effective medical care is paramount. Paduda claims that not focusing on cost has made Medicare Part D ‘a disaster.’
“On a national scale, the program is a disaster. The ultimate liability for Part D is $8 trillion, a liability that is unfunded. This is what we can expect if Congress passes and President Obama signs into law national health reform that does not aggressively, and forcefully, address cost – a deficit explosion that will make the cost of the current bailouts look like lunch money.”
What does the Healthcare Economist recommend? Listen to your inner economist!