A bipartisan group of senators at work on health care reported progress Thursday in holding the cost of legislation to their $1 trillion target, but Republicans quickly added there was no agreement on even the outlines of a bill. "We have options that would enable us to write a $1 trillion bill, fully paid for," Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, told reporters. His comments came one week after analysts set the cost of earlier proposals at $1.6 trillion over 10 years.
How much the government pays for health care is not even an issue in my book. The real budgetary issue is what do we pay as a nation overall. Let me explain with a simple example based – suppose that the average citizen currently spends $6300 a year out of his own pocket or via private insurance for health care and the government is spending $700 per person per year so the total cost of health care is $7000 per person per year. If a new health care system doubled what the government was paying (to $1400 per person per year) but lowered private payments to say $5500 per person per year, the cost of health care would then be $6900 per person per year. If we could do that with sacrificing the quality of health care, then the only issue would be how to pay for the extra government spending. Of course, the answer is easy and generally supported by the public – it’s called raising taxes. Of course, some of our nitwit political leaders see tax increases as the ultimate sin.