Previewing the Republican attack on the budget, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) appeared on CNBC this morning to spew-off the kind of neo-Hooverism that confuses ‘principles’ and ‘ideology’ for economic reality:
ANCHOR: Senator, do you believe it’s necessary to postpone our nations answers to health care because it costs too much?
BAILEY HUTCHISON: I do. I certainly do, and I think that again going into this nationalized health care, universal health care, takes it out of the private sector, and again that’s jobs…You start taking that out of the private sector and put it into government, more government spending and less private sector jobs that — what is happening to our free enterprise system?
As Peter Orszag suggested this morning during the budget unveiling, getting health care costs under control and expanding access to coverage is the “single most important thing” we can do to solve the economic crisis. Health care costs “are the long-term driving force in federal and state budgets” and health spending consumes “$1 out of every $6 in the economy, dwarfing automobiles and all other economic segments.”
In fact, the health care crisis is best pronounced in Texas. The state leads the nation in “the highest percentage of residents without health insurance,” and ranks last in children’s access to health care.
The current economic recession and growing unemployment numbers are likely exacerbating the problem. A look at December’s unemployment figures (the latest date for which data is available), for instance, reveals that an 11,500 additional Texans lost their jobs every day, and many likely lost their employer-based health insurance coverage.
But while the crisis is real for Texans, Bailey Hutchison, who as a Senator receives government subsidized health insurance, is concerned about “more government spending” on health care. Of course the point of real health reform is to eliminate wasteful expenditures, improve quality, and reduce overall health care spending (now at an unsustainable 16% of the GDP), not increase it. Unfortunately, by postponing reform, health care spending will only increase. By 2017, health care will consume 20 percent of the GDP.