TWI's Mike Lillis:
Indeed, officials monitoring the nation’s health care spending provided further evidence that health reform isn’t simply a moral imperative, but an economic one. In 2009, Americans spent roughly $2.5 trillion on health care, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — a figure representing 17.3 percent of the nation’s economy, up from 16.2 percent the year before. And things are projected to get much worse. CMS economists project that health spending will jump to $4.5 trillion in 2019, representing 19 percent of the economy.The President's words on health care reform of late aren't illuminating. Alternating advocating "getting the job done" and "moving on to jobs," I'm not sure where this heads from here. It's unclear if the administration is giving Democrats cover to run away from health care entirely, or just running interference while they wrap it up.
Washington Post columnist David Broder points out today that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which currently represent 41 percent of federal spending, are projected to consume 60 percent of the federal budget in just 20 years — “crowding out almost everything else the country needs from government.”
It's my guess that the strategy is to create the appearance of the White House moving on, while the House/Senate slowly, cautiously, and warily push a tiny-intsy-little-bit of reform through, with a promise to "fix it later," while no one is looking.
As strategy goes, the damage is done on health care. If the Democrats are going to lose their majority for it, that's not fixable. Luckily, I think that notion is just wishful thinking on those who have no more than TEA parties and Mark Rubio to get excited about. I also think a great many are misinterpreting what the country is frustrated about, which is probably closer to "get something done!" than "you're all not tea-baggy enough!"
Democrats have plenty of time to rebound from the current polling, and a jobs bill, combined with aggressive financial reform (while the GOP complains they haven't seen their Wall Street payoff for "services rendered" yet) is a way to make it happen while actually spending some of this political capital they seem unaware what to do with.
But as Lillis points out, moral and ideological imperatives aside, there is an economic aspect lost in the hubbub on health care reform. Rhetoric aside, we can't afford, as a country, to leave this one alone.
How's that for bipartisan?