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Government to Account For More Than Half of Healthcare Spending

Goozner

Amid all the gloomy numbers in the latest government projections for health care spending, one statistic stands out: Public sector involvement in health care this year will surpass private sector spending for the first time in U.S. history.

The actual projections show it will only reach 49.3% of $2.57 trillion, but that assumes Congress won’t throw more money at physicians at the end of this month when previously legislated cutbacks in Medicare pay are slated to go into effect. Congress can’t pass health care reform, but spending more on physicians (mean salary for cardiologists and radiologists in 2009 was over $400,000) has unusual bipartisan support.

What’s driving the growing public role is no mystery. With unemployment at 10 percent and underemployment widespread, millions of Americans have lost employer-based coverage and now must rely on public sector programs. Even where people remain employed, their firms can no longer afford skyrocketing premiums and thus are abandoning or cutting back on coverage.

And there’s no end in sight to those trends, even with an improving economy. Health care spending, which surged to 17.3% of gross domestic product in 2009 from 16.2 percent in 2008,  the largest single jump in the history of government recordkeeping, is slated to rise to 19.3% in 2019, a year when the public sector will account for 51.9% of the $4.49 trillion health care economy. And that’s without paying physicians more.

Here’s another way to look at it: In 2019, U.S. government agencies at the state and federal level ALONE will spend 10% of GDP on health. That’s a greater share of economic activity than many other highly industrialized nations that insure everyone, yet the U.S. will still have one in six or seven people without any coverage at all at some point during the year.

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ArindamSenIndiesWendell MurrayGregMGJames Recent comment authors
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ArindamSenIndies
Guest

It’s true that a vast majority of Americans now have no other choice but to opt for public sector programs. On one hand the firms are either cutting back or canceling coverage offers for their employees, on the other hand they’ve categorized employees on the basis of their ranks or designations in order to compel them to opt for mandatory programs. Some groups have even been warned of getting fired if they choose to opt out! Someone nicely commented that it was worth robbing a bank and creating a debt platform for the unborn. I wonder which way the burden… Read more »

Wendell Murray
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Of course those statistics say it all, but as is clear, very few members of Congress, no Republicans and far too few Democrats, have the slightest interest in any relevant fact.
Greg above could not be more accurate in his commentary.

James
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James

“They are not satisfied with the progress of their party and literally want to turn time back to the 19th century. Undo all the progress that our forefathers fought and died to provide for future Generations. Civil Liberties, Womens rights,Labor laws repealed, OSHA,environmental guidelines, and a slew of other benefits,rights and privileges some take for granted.” Really, do tell. Please provide links to where all of this is expressly advocated by Tea Party leadership. Somehow this sound like the same over-the-top, by-the-numbers, generic political attacks leveled at every conservative from Robert Bork to Ronald Reagan. It sounds kind of similar… Read more »

Gary Lampman
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Gary Lampman

Greg; You have some intriguing insight that seem clear and concise.Great job on the Historical Background as well. I have over the course of 10 years joined a number of organization on the left;right;and in the middle. I have participated in actions(petitions) with a slew of Organizations. I have Found that it is fund raising time every Day of the Year. If you want to Know How badly you are being manipulated to keep politicians in power. You Need to pick a host of politicians from each party and join their mailing List. They have found more ways to play… Read more »

Gary Lampman
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Gary Lampman

“Uh, how is urging people to vote a “coup”? Also, how are their politics “extreme’ when it appears that these folks are the ones showing up on the inning sides of recent elections. ” James thank you for your challenge to think beyond ones limited scope.I have seen the same posturing and rhetorical outrage we found in a recent Election Cycle in New York. A Women Republican Candidate ran against a Ultra Conservative Male Republican Candidate which had back fired. The Democrat won. A real Tea Party member would not be so exclusionary by charging $500. per person. So they… Read more »

Greg
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Greg

Boston revolutionaries rejected subservience to the East India Company, a British-run international corporation. They cast the tea into the harbor as a symbolic message to say that their taxes should go back into the American community, not subsidizing the profits of London elites and foreign corporations. Today, tea party profiteers are trying to exploit the movement, pushing them to oppose policies which would actually liberate the middle class and crack down on international corporations. Despite the populist rhetoric, the profiteers see the tea party movement as a pool to extract fundraising dollars and volunteers for republican campaigns. They are selling… Read more »

MG
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MG

James – It is extreme if you read what Paul Ryan was pushing lately in his proposed ‘budget plan’ for the federal fiscal budget – flat income tax rates of 15%, elimination of a host of taxes including capital gains, and ‘privatizing’ Social Security/Medicare. No specifics on how to remotely begin to accomplish this or the costs associated with it including an estimated price tag at over $3T next year alone. A majority of Americans would be clearly worse off under these circumstances but that’s fine with the far right arm of supply siders who are riding the popular angst… Read more »

James
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James

“This is not a TEA Party but rather a extreme right wing coup to set America into the Dark Ages.”
Uh, how is urging people to vote a “coup”? Also, how are their politics “extreme’ when it appears that these folks are the ones showing up on the inning sides of recent elections.

MD as HELL
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MD as HELL

The government does not have to spend what it does on healthcare. Just set a number, and when it is gone it is gone until next year. No one ever expected anyone to go rob a bank to pay for government benefits. But that is exactly what our government has been doing. Robbing a bank. A piggy bank. Committing the unrepresented and unborn to a life of debt. What if they want to have their own world instead of paying for ours?

MarkS
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MarkS

I expect that the Tea Party people will loudly proclaim their “right” to not buy insurance… until they get sick and they they will loudly proclaim their “right” to have all of the costs covered (including quack cures).

archon41
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archon41

And the chorus of cheers that arose when Rick Santelli launched the rant heard ’round the world came from subhumans? Lighten up.

Gary Lampman
Guest
Gary Lampman

They have not the Conception and understanding what the “Boston Tea Party” was About. “Taxation without Representation.”
This is not a TEA Party but rather a extreme right wing coup to set America into the Dark Ages.They not only are going after Democrats,but their Party Leaders as Well. Acting as if a rabid Animal,this fringe Party will eventually consume themselves.
They hate Government and the Programs Created. However, they will use these programs without conscious of their dissenting Views.

Peter
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Peter

I wonder how many the Tea Party(s) members, who seem to want an end to deficit spending, are unisured, under-insured, unemployed with (extended) unemployment insurance and subsidized COBRA, under-employed with no affordable coverage, covered by Medicare or a well funded company or government plan? I think we should give them what they want – massive cut-backs in government spending, including all the bacon they look for from their represenatives.