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In 1965, medicare was expected to cost $9B in 1990

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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 08:57 AM
Original message
In 1965, medicare was expected to cost $9B in 1990
Edited on Wed Jul-29-09 09:15 AM by SoCalDem
As eye-popping as those numbers are, the real cost will likely be higher. Long-range projections are notoriously inaccurate. When Medicare, the government's health care system for the elderly and disabled, was first enacted in 1965, lawmakers predicted it would cost $9 billion by 1990. In fact, it cost $67 billion that year. http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2005-02-09-edit_x.htm


This was mentioned on MSNBC this morning, but NO ONE mentioned how that projection came to be. Think about how things were in 1965.

We were PROSPEROUS, even with the Viet Nam war ramping up, and a cold war going on. There were no HMOs, most people did not have medical insurance, you could afford to write a check for dental care or a trip to the doctor's office, hospitals well still pretty much run by religious orders (non-profit) or were locally owned & operated.

Our tax base was heavily weighted toward the TOP earners & corporations (90% in some cases). Most people did not have much credit, and only the tippy-top types had charge accounts or credit cards...people were not swallowed up by debt.

The middle class was booming, and had more than enough money to spend, even though tax rates were quite a bit higher than now.

It was NOT unreasonable for the government to project $9 billion for 1990.

The people in charge then had NO reason to suspect that over a generation & a half, that the biggest burden of tax-paying would shift to the ones least able to bear the burden.

They could not have predicted that so many people would be pushed out of unions and good paying jobs, that they would become burdens of state-sponsored/ government-sponsored largess.

They had no reason to suspect that future administrations would willingly exchange needed tax revenues for lobbyist money, tied to quid pro quo that stripped away rules needed to make this a fair society.

They had no reason to believe that medical research would add so many years to the end of lives, or that so many diseases that once were death sentences, would become treatable chronic illnesses.

The thing that pisses me off the most, is that when our government had the money, the impetus, the democratic/progressive voices in congress, and the opportunity to create a TRUE MEDICARE plan for everyone, they chickened out, and just extended it to the elderly.

Every other "civilized" nation undertook the hard work and created national health care plans during that same period, and many of them were still struggling with WWII's devastating aftermath, but they still DID it. We should have LED the way, but our government kicked the can down the road, and now we are stuck with the hodge-podge non-system we have now, and the hopes of ever getting a well-functioning system for all of us, is nowhere on the horizon.

We also have a few generations of people here now, who do not value critical thought, and who seem to have checked their thinking capacity at the door. Our media is so heavily corporatized, and dependent on the money generated from the same people who have a vested interest in PROHIBITING national health care, that there will be no equitable laying out of facts, for the people with functioning brain cells to analyze.

Whatever we end up with will most assuredly be less than we need, costing more than it should, and affordable/available to as few as possible.
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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 08:58 AM
Response to Original message
1. K&R
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prostomulgus Donating Member (188 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 09:07 AM
Response to Original message
2. The 25 years between 1965 and 1990 include 20 years of repukes
8 years with Nixon, 12 with Reagan/Bush I.

Obviously, those two decades impoverished millions more than had been expected in 1965 driving them into medicare. If we want to hold down entitlement costs, we need to elect more progressive politicians so that everyone will be lifted.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Republican ruination of the economy is mostly responsible
for the problems we have now.. That's why they love to "follow" each other, The nest admin covers up for the previous. Where ARE those pesky Reagan/Bush1 papers?

Surely they have been "tidied up" enough for us to see by now:puke:
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orwell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 09:53 AM
Response to Original message
4. Very long term economic forecasting...
...is notoriously unreliable, especially in an economic and financial system so dominated by short term goals.
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Gold Metal Flake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
5. What is 9 billion 1965 dollars adjusted for 1990 dollar value?
Badly composed question.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 10:21 AM
Response to Original message
6. Still a bargain.
Think about it.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Oh, I agree, BUT our goofball media is using this to extrapolate
Edited on Wed Jul-29-09 10:34 AM by SoCalDem
today's proposals into nightmarish predictions to try and sink any hope of getting any plan.

Grownups "know" that predictions of cost usually have no parity with the real costs (like the "free kitten/puppy"), but we're not dealing with grownups, in most cases..
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 10:29 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Absolutey.
Hell, we have had much more over-runs than that in military contracts.
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CTyankee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
9. Good job SoCalDem!
I don't usually recommend but I did for this because it was so thoughtful and well expressed.

I gave birth to my daughter in 1965. I was living in Manhattan and my entire prenatal care, childbirth and delivery at NYU Hospital cost $300. We were middle class and lived in a nice apt. in Greenwich Village.
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Johonny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
10. the technology adds to the expense as well
in 1965 ultrasound, MRI, catscans were all pretty much not around.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. That's true, but a lot of the R&D for those developments have been paid for by tax dollars already,
and in many cases they are disapproved by insurance companies anyway..
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 10:02 PM
Response to Original message
12. Interesting, provacative post SoCal...K&R!
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uponit7771 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 11:17 PM
Response to Original message
13. RayGunism REALLY hurt this country...it really did
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abumbyanyothername Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 11:23 PM
Response to Original message
14. History of the Paris Commune of 1871
Required reading for people of all political persuasions watching this train wreck in slow motion unfold.
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