Regarding the Feb. 25 editorial, slightly slower growth in spending than expected over the past decade doesn’t negate the larger issue. The focus needs to broaden.
Just because healthcare spending over the past few years has grown more slowly than we expected, that does not mean it hasn’t grown exponentially since the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid.
And it doesn’t dismiss the basic economic principle that price caps (imposed by the CMS) create market shortages and drive up prices elsewhere. Nor that Medicare and Medicaid (and private insurance) remove consumers so far from the actual costs that the market is never able to adjust toward equilibrium. Nor that without tax-funded entitlements, increased spending would not be a bad thing. In other industries we would call that a boom. And finally, it doesn’t mean we can ignore the fact that the population paying into the system is shrinking, and the population taking from the system is growing rapidly. Are we really sure that’s sustainable?
If you want to save the social safety net, the worst thing you can do is ignore the very thing that threatens it.