Between a presidential debate full of disinformation, and now a monthly jobs number facing conspiracy charges, it is hard to know who to believe anymore in American politics. Nobody suffers more from a lack of information than the consumers of healthcare in this country. Healthcare costs are squeezing the bottom lines of businesses making it difficult for employers to hire or keep existing workers. Entitlement spending is contributing, more than any other programs, to a national debt threatening future generations and their pursuit of happiness.
Both candidates have approaches to controlling Medicare spending, which if nothing is done will consume 100 percent of the United States budget by the 2040’s. The President’s approach laid out in the Affordable Care Act was to reduce future growth of the program by reducing reimbursement to hospitals and other providers. 716 billion dollars was taken out of the program to offset the cost of the ACA and hopefully make the program solvent for a few more years.
Governor Romney advocates a more consumer centric type of approach, and along with his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, has proposed offering senior citizens a voucher to either purchase something similar to traditional Medicare or they could buy another plan in the private marketplace. One key takeaway is the fact both sides are proposing to spend approximately the same amount of money.
It is campaign season and both sides have attacked the other and this will continue throughout the fall . The true wildcard will be what to do with a looming fiscal cliff which will impact our country dramatically as existing tax policy expires and automatic spending cuts begin in January, 2013. I had the opportunity today to catch up with Sarah Kliff, the healthcare reporter for the Washington Post. You can access all of her work on Twitter@SarahKliff.
Click here to listen to our conversation where we discuss a multitude of health policy items including myths and disinformation brought up during the presidential debate, the future sustainability of the Medicare program, changes in the healthcare delivery system not being discussed and the possibility of a health reform 2.0.
If you are craving more on the ACA or Obamacare and what it means for you, make sure to tune in tomorrow morning at 10 am central for America’s Healthcare Challenge, a weekly radio program hosted by yours truly featuring experts from politics, medicine and business discussing the impact of the healthcare reform law, and associated issues. For more, check back to this site regularly, and follow me on Twitter@SeanMMcGuire