The debt crisis is, above all, a health care spending crisis. About one-quarter of all federal government spending goes to health care — a percentage that would rise dramatically under the president’s new health care law. For taxpayers, employers and families alike, health care costs rose about 8 percent in 2011 and are projected to rise by 8.5 percent in 2012.
At the rate health care costs are rising, no one-time tax increase could keep up with spending on health care — taxes would have to rise again and again, devastating the economy. As Obama recently said, “If you look at the numbers, then Medicare in particular will run out of money, and we will not be able to sustain that program no matter how much taxes go up.”
But the president’s preferred approach of medical price controls and cuts to providers is doomed to fail, just as it has failed in the past. The only sure way to control costs is to reform the government’s role in health care at every level by introducing choice and competition.