Overlooking The Obvious
House Republicans unveiled their 10 year Federal Budget plan yesterday amid choruses of complaints from both parties. GOP hawks lamented the size of the Defense budget (not large enough) and Democrats complained about proposed changes to Medicare and the lack of investment in education. The GOP claimed the proposed budget would eliminate deficits within 10 years and return the Country to robust growth (what ever that is). Also, all of this would happen without any tax increases. Oh yes, the Affordable Care Act would be fully repealed. Hmmm.
Over the next weeks, this subject will be dissected and pundits with views from all angles will weigh in. The GOP’s goal of eliminating deficits, repealing Obamacare (ACA), and no new taxes has presented them with some fiscal obstacles. Entitlements are growing and inflation, even at a low level, is inflating the budget size if nothing is done. Whose ox will be gored is the GOP’s quandary.
It is unlikely that the GOP will be able to repeal ACA or privatize part of Medicare and remain in control of Congress. Both of these programs will have strong political support and Republicans might pay mightily in the voting booths.
Even more to the point, “Medicare reform” while technically not a tax increase will be never the less a transfer of costs from the government to the elderly. Hmmm.
Probably more shameful would be a repeal of ACA where current estimates indicate that 16 million more Americans now have health insurance compared to before ACA. Hmmm.
The argument over Defense spending is curious. Some Republicans see no problem in cutting entitlements while simultaneously increasing Defense spending. Others prefer “across the board” cuts including Defense. At this point no one is describing the foreign policy or international environment against which a defense strategy should meet. So how can Congress decide how large the Defense budget should be? Hmmm.
A purposeful Congress might see an elegant path forward which could cut Medicare costs and eliminate the Affordable Care Act at the same time.
The road map can be seen in some two dozen modern industrial countries like Germany, France, and Japan. The US could adopt a single payer, universal health care delivery system. Modeling the new US healthcare on, for example Germany, would provide Americans with healthcare outcomes equal to or better than what exist now at about one half the current US cost per capita.
This would be “real reform”, and better yet, Defense cuts would be necessary only if the US foreign policy so dictated.
What is the GOP thinking taking on Grammar and Grandpa, and 16 million formerly uninsured?