Fixing the Budget Deficit

What nobody wants to say: the real looming deficit problems are medical. Health costs must be controlled. The rest is peanuts, says former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich.

Let’s be clear about the long-term deficit problem. ... Over the next three decades, drug costs are projected to soar. New medical equipment, diagnostic tests, and complex procedures will rise into the stratosphere. The answer is to finish the job of reforming health care. How? Let Medicare use its bargaining leverage to get low-cost drugs and supplies. End health insurer’s immunity from antitrust laws. Allow the public to buy health insurance from a Medicare-like public option. And award plans that focus on disease prevention rather than expensive diagnostics and procedures. Everything else the deficit commission recommends is peanuts compared to taming health-care costs.

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Image source: Ernst Haeckel
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