United States Comptroller General David Walker was on 60 Minutes tonight. He has some health care fun facts:
- The United States health care system is a 5x greater problem than social security.
- Medical costs are, and have been (didn’t catch time frame) rising at more than twice the rate of inflation .
- The Bush administration’s prescription drug bill added $8 Trillion additional dollars required to the already $15-20 trillion dollar underfunded Medicare program.
- To fund the Bush administration’s prescription drug program we need $8 Trillion invested today at today’s treasury rates to pay for it (I think he said over the next 20 years), we have $0 saved to pay for this.
- The United States is #1 in the world…in health care costs.
- In the United States we spend 50% more of our economy on health coverage than any other nation on Earth.
- We also have the largest percentage of uninsured of any major industrialized nation.
- We have above average infant mortality in the United States.
- We have below average life expectancy.
- We have much higher than average medical error rates among industrial nations.
- It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that health care is:
- The #1 fiscal challenge for federal government.
- The #1 fiscal challenge for state government.
- The #1 competitive cchallenge for businesses.
Who is this guy? Surely not someone we should listen to, surely everyone thinks he’s crazy? No, not exactly. The Heritage Foundation, the Brookings Institute, and the Concord Coalition, among others, all agree with David Walker’s figures and projections.
I have been insisting for some time now that the social security is a lesser issue to health care. More importantly, gays, immigrants, and flag burning are non-issues. And yet I’m often asked my opinion on these topics. Moreover, shockingly the latter three are more often discussed “issues”. Anyone who insists these are issues are either a). complete idiots b). attempting to employ a modern day version of race-baiting.