Wednesday, February 18, 2009

caregiving: American Recovery and Reivestment Act

Interestingly 17% of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1) is targeted for health care spending.

In 2008, the United States spent 17% or $3.4 trillion of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care. Elsewhere, health care spending accounted for 11% of the GDP in Switzerland and Germany, 10% in Canada and France. Are we almost twice as healthy?

President Obama’s health care reform derailed by lackadaisical leadership choices remains without a captain. Now it seems we are patching up a runaway train for expedience’s sake.

“… ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. … “ President Obama. ... Oh how those inaugural speeches can come back to bite you in the butt.

Don’t get me wrong, real people need real help NOW. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will temporarily help those who need it the most:

$87 billion to prevent State cuts to Medicaid

$25 billion to help workers who lose their jobs maintain employer-provided health insurance by providing a 65 percent subsidy for up to nine months.

$13 billion to help disadvantaged students and $12.2 billion for the education of disabled children.

Another $30 billion in related spending for increased research and health information technology may have less tangible help, but certainly will benefit jobs in those sectors.

Yes, NEED dictated the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and it will temporarily help millions. However it is NOT going to help millions more at risk or ruined by the runaway train of US healthcare spending:

47 million Americans have NO medical insurance.

Even if insured is it fool’s gold?
* Since 1999, employment-based health insurance premiums have increased 120 percent, compared to cumulative inflation of 44 percent and cumulative wage growth of 29 percent during the same period.

If the mortgage meltdown is considered a culprit in our current mess, then consider this:
About 1.5 million families lose their homes to foreclosure every year due to unaffordable medical costs.

Health care spending is not an incurable disease, but it is killing our economy. My diagnosis is “cupiditas” or good old fashioned greed.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
web site:
musings: Patrick Ponders ...

1 comment:

  1. you summed it up, Patrick; our economy is in a mess because of "greed" by all in all sectors; can't just do it with health care or mortgage, etc. Greed across the border........

    I don't know the answers (and never knew the ansers) to anything any more with the way this country is going but its going to be derailed and God help us all.....(and he's the only one that can help us out of this mess)

    hope you are enjoying a bit of spring weather here and there



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