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Judd Gregg To Geithner: Your Health Care Investment Will Explode The Budget

By Igor Volsky

"Judd Gregg To Geithner: Your Health Care Investment Will Explode The Budget"

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During today’s Senate Budget Committee hearing with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) argued that the administration’s investment in health care reform was a “massive expansion of the government”:

You’re adding another $664 billion in your budget, which you say is a down payment on the entitlement accounts relative to health care, which is probably a downpayment that’s only about half of what you’re really calculating — it’s probably closer to a trillion, a trillion-two. So you’re exploding the size of health care spending on top of health care spending which already exceeds any other industrialized country in the world by about 5 percent. So there’s no discipline there. In fact, there’s a massive expansion of the government.

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Gregg is right about the Obama administration’s view of entitlements. As Peter Orszag argued during the administration’s fiscal responsibility summit,”health care reform is entitlement reform. The path of fiscal responsibility must run directly through health care.”

Since the rising cost per beneficiary is responsible for most of the fiscal problem, you can’t stabilize the economy without lowering the costs of health care, and you can’t lower health care costs without investing in the system.

Transcript:

Maybe your argument is, well, we’re going to address health care and therefore we’re going to address the entitlement issues. Well, how do you address health care? Health care today takes 17 percent of the gross national product.

You’re suggesting that there’d be increases in percentage of gross national product. You’re adding another $664 billion in your budget, which you say is a down payment on the entitlement accounts relative to health care, which is probably a downpayment that’s only about half of what you’re really calculating — it’s probably closer to a trillion, a trillion-two. So you’re exploding the size of health care spending on top of health care spending which already exceeds any other industrialized country in the world by about 5 percent. So there’s no discipline there. In fact, there’s a massive expansion of the government.

‹ Bill Clinton: The Biggest Obstacle To Reform Is ‘Going To Be The Cost Challenge’

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