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Doses of reality not covered by new Medicare drug benefit (single payer ?)

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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-04 10:48 AM
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Doses of reality not covered by new Medicare drug benefit (single payer ?)

"This red-ink reality was one of the budgetary horror stories brandished at a conference Thursday sponsored by the Government Accountability Office. Comptroller General David Walker, who heads the GAO, assembled more than 60 experts (including former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, former Commerce secretary Pete Peterson and Josh Bolten, the director of the Office of Management and Budget) for a discussion of the gathering threat caused by the government's fiscal irresponsibility."

"With the election over and no participant quoted without permission, this GAO forum featured a candid bipartisan dialogue that would be impossible in a more politicized environment. The dominant theme, expressed by Republicans and Democrats, was a sense of fatalism that the debt problem would grow much worse before politicians are galvanized to take action."

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Doses of reality not covered by new Medicare drug benefit
Hype & Glory By Walter Shapiro

WASHINGTON Here is a clip-and-save fact that symbolizes America's long-term financial dilemma: According to government estimates, the ultimate drain from the new Medicare prescription-drug benefit will be greater than the current national debt.

That's right. All prior unbalanced federal budgets will someday be topped by a single pre-election program for Medicare recipients.

Like most governmental numbers, this one requires a little explanation. The figure is based on a 75-year projection by the actuaries who scrutinize the Medicare program. While health care costs are notoriously difficult to forecast, this prediction assumes that the prescription-drug program, which has huge gaps in its coverage, will never be expanded.<snip>

Next month, the president is likely to flesh out his proposals for the partial privatization of Social Security in his Inaugural Address and his State of the Union speech to Congress. The truth-in-budgeting test for the president will be whether he will admit that his plan for individual accounts will be accompanied by huge transition costs. The political temptation will be to mask his Social Security arithmetic in a fiscal fog.<snip>
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