I Don't Understand Mark Thoma
By Arnold Kling
But focusing on the immediate problems brought about by tax cuts and military spending should not divert us from the more formidable problem of solving the escalating health cost problem. If Obama wins and tries to institute some form of universal care, it will be opposed as a budget breaker (and for other reasons), but I think universal care will help a lot in bringing down health care cost growth.
There is health care spending paid for by the private sector. Call it P. There is health care spending paid for by the government. Call it G.
The problem with G is that it is busting the budget. I do not understand how reducing P and raising G represents a solution. Even if you think that government can do health care more efficiently, you are still raising G and making the budget problem worse.
P can grow as a percent of GDP as much as it wants to, and be as wasteful as it wants to, without affecting the fiscal outlook. Only G affects the fiscal outlook.
What happens when you take people out of P and put them into G? You might make people’s lives better (that’s a separate disagreement). You might increase the overall efficiency of the health care system (another separate disagreement). But you do not improve the fiscal outlook. You make it worse.
I absolutely do not see how anyone can say otherwise.