Krugman: Medicare Spending Is Down!

save medicare
Major news that barely registered a tinkle in what passes for news media last week. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised since it was a holiday weekend and when the administration has good news it seldom makes the front section, let alone the front page. Considering the shambles that Republicans left our fiscal house in and the flat out total opposition they have shown to any attempt to fix the mess makes this news remarkable. Here is the beginning of Krugman’s column from August 31st:

So, what do you think about those Medicare numbers? What, you haven’t heard about them? Well, they haven’t been front-page news. But something remarkable has been happening on the health-spending front, and it should (but probably won’t) transform a lot of our political debate.

The story so far: We’ve all seen projections of giant federal deficits over the next few decades, and there’s a whole industry devoted to issuing dire warnings about the budget and demanding cuts in Socialsecuritymedicareandmedicaid. Policy wonks have long known, however, that there’s no such program, and that health care, rather than retirement, was driving those scary projections. Why? Because, historically, health spending has grown much faster than G.D.P., and it was assumed that this trend would continue.

But a funny thing has happened: Health spending has slowed sharply, and it’s already well below projections made just a few years ago. The falloff has been especially pronounced in Medicare, which is spending $1,000 less per beneficiary than the Congressional Budget Office projected just four years ago.

This is a really big deal, in at least three ways.

Krugman then goes on to explain why the Medicare miracle is such a big deal here.

Don’t forget that about six months ago the main stream media all but ignored the major story that the budget deficit has been shrinking at an incredible rate, the fastest ever since WWII. When the Bush cronies were done destroying things they left an annual shortfall of nearly $1.5 trillion with an annual trillion dollar deficit expected every year. The Obama Administration has cut this down to under half a trillion deficit and cut the deficit to GDP ratio from nearly 10% coming in to office to under 3% for this year.

By the way, don’t forget that as President Clinton was leaving office, his administration had cut the then massive debt left by Republican administrations to the point where projections had the United States out of debt within a decade.

You may also recall that President Clinton presided over a roaring economy that was struggling badly under Bush the Elder – remember the phrase “it’s the economy, stupid.” We have seen the stock market come back from a major setback at the end of the Bush II administration to soar to new heights.

In short, given the outright entrenched opposition of Republicans who have tried to stop Obama at every turn, the Obama administration has produced some remarkable economic numbers.

Can you just imagine what could happen if Republicans were working for the good of all Americans instead of only working for the corporations and the rich 1%? If Republicans do not wish to work for the good of the majority of Americans, why don’t we just leave them behind to wallow in their stew while Democrats take the country to new heights. It can be done. It should be done.

If I had an employee who worked against my company as hard as the Republicans work against their employers (you and I), I would fire them in a second. You have the power to do that.

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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