Without Government Health Care Spending America’s Debt Would Be Almost Non-Existent

health-care-costs-300x199

This is starting (via Peter Suderman):

As a thought experiment, let’s suppose that medical expenditures had been self-financed since the inception of government health care in the 1960s. What would our debt and deficit look like today? To answer this question, I simply added the medical care expenditure deficit back into the total government deficit. The result is depicted in [the figure below[ and is astounding (at least to me). Outside of medical expenditures and revenues, the Federal government sometimes ran a surplus and sometimes ran a deficit from 1966 until 1980. Starting in 1980, and lasting until 1994, the government consistently ran a deficit outside of medical spending, but from 1995 until 2010, it consistently ran a surplus. In 1994, the cumulative excess spending would have reached a bit over $1 trillion. But by 1999, debt due to sources other than medical spending would have been completely eliminated by surpluses! The government wouldn’t have needed to borrow again until 2011.

Here’s the figure referred to:

Government has long promoted health insurance, and health care, as a third-party responsibility for Americans. Most Americans aren’t the direct customer for their health care. The bills go to their insurance companies. And most Americans aren’t the direct customer for their health insurance policies either. Employers provide health insurance for the bulk of Americans, with government coming in second.

This disconnect between Americans and their health insurance/health care is what is creating the health care cost bubble that is, in turn, clearly the primary driver of US national debt.

We need to get the government out of health care.

I’d only add that the unfunded liabilities represented by Social Security, which is already obligated to pay more in benefits than it is receiving in tax payments and is being forced to rely on a trust fund that was long ago replaced by government bonds, are significant as well though don’t show up in the budget.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Onslaught1066

    Without liberals America’s brain deficit would be almost nothing too.

    • SigFan

      Oh they have a brain – one, that they all share collectively. Which amounts to approximately one active brain cell per liberal.

      • $8194357

        Eaiser to “brainwash” and eco friendly, huh..

        • slackwarerobert

          You imply there is enough to get dirty. I doubt that they have enough cells to wash. Now a good study would be how much we would have if we didn’t have blacks and other illegals. Chicago alone would be a paradise I bet.

  • SigFan

    Yeahbutunfundedwarsandtaxcutsfortherichandgreedywallstreet1%’ersandBushdidit.

    Saved all the lefties from straining their brains. You’re welcome.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ryan.sharpe.3194 Ryan Sharpe

    This is simply not true. The debt comes from many factors: (http://ti.me/TfYhE0) subsidies, defense spending and infrastructure. The programs the government spends money on need to be re-evaluated. Only then can we focus on reducing the deficit.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I don’t think the math lies. If you pull health care spending out our deficit is reduced down to almost nothing.

      • http://www.facebook.com/bea.kath.1 Bea Kath

        I agree with Ryan. I think you are over-simplifying the issue. There is a big thing we need to consider when we are talking about healthcare: can we afford NOT to have it? Are you suggesting that when an uninsured person walks into the ER with a life-threatening condition, the hospital should turn her away? Of course not. If you increase the number of uninsured individuals, you increase the cost of emergency health care that the government has to foot the bill for. You can’t just ignore major factors of cost, throw up your hands and exclaim “The math doesn’t lie! I have a chart!”

        • Lianne

          Bea, with this statement, ” can we afford NOT to have it?” you are over simplifying the issue. It isn’t a matter of having health care or not. Health care paid for by the government is different from healthcare covered by private payers, be they individuals or companies. Do you know that it is Medicare that determines the price/cost of all health care whether it is hospitalization or supplies? Maybe that is where we start with the change.
          You mention ER’s. the ER has been abused for years by those who do not want to pay for office visits. That alone increases health care costs. Along with that, the illegal population has signifcantly increased the cost of health care. One hospital in Oklahoma wrote off $25 million in just one year.—–one year. We could not turn away illegals and we had several with chronic conditions who just rode the ‘hospital curcuit. That is not the reason hospitals were established in this country or any other.

        • Ray Chandler

          Why not deny them care? The rest of us have no obligation to pick up their tab.

        • slackwarerobert

          But they don’t turn away those without life threatening, there is the problem. That and they don’t go for the cheapest method of treatment. If you have a hand mangled, just lop it off, don’t spend hundreds of thousands reattaching it if they are not going to pay.

      • borborygmi

        and the consequences for health, life expectency is …..what? especially if you don’t have the $. Talk about death panels. If employers are the main providers for health insurance should they drop that perk? Why don’t you and your family try it first. Strictly private insurance or no insurance pay cash or don’t see a doctor, pharmacist. When something catastrophic happens put the house up for sale to pay off the 1/2 million hospital bill. Same for you parents. Don’t take medicare or at least don’t take more then you or they put in. Please start today. Also Check the historical records for life expectency pre insurance. Check out the survival rate of those with $ and those without pre insurance?

        • two_amber_lamps

          16 Trillion dollars of debt… the majority of it to China.

          Any questions?

          • borborygmi

            same experiment with you, Strictly private insurance or no insurance pay cash or don’t see a doctor, pharmacist. When something catastrophic happens put the house up for sale to pay off the 1/2 million hospital bill. Same for you parents. Don’t take medicare or at least don’t take more then you or they put in. Please start today

          • two_amber_lamps

            Yes gurgle…. continue down the same failed path and dig us all into further fiscal oblivion. Obviously the machine is broken but you insist we stay the course in the name of social justice, fairness, or whatever silly justification you and your leftist ilk title the cause today. Insurance practices and government subsidies have driven up the costs of medical care just as they’ve driven up the costs of education, housing….

            How many examples do you need to see of the failure of leftist economic manipulation and the inevitable disaster it causes?

            All the examples in the world won’t help you and your kleptocratic political type.

            http://planetpov.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/digging.jpg

            People used to joke about “digging to China”…. leftist douches like you seek to make it reality.

          • $8194357

            2 tru 4 skool 2 lamps

          • roamer

            I am not saying that China isn’t a major concern regarding our debt, but simply fact checking. China only holds roughly 10% of US government debt, and they rely on large purchases of our debt as part of their strategy to devalue their currency so that they can continue to export their products cheaply and keep their economy growing, so the dependency is in part a two way street.

        • Ray Chandler

          So what if you have to put up your house? It’s your health and NOT the responsibility of anyone else to pay your bills.

        • slackwarerobert

          So move to texas where your home is safe from creditors. You forget that it is the medical profession that is keeping bad gene pools that should not propagate alive and poisoning the populace. Get rid of the bad genes, and you will have a healthier populace that doesn’t need all these expensive treatments. Why do you want your employer to have hold of your medical treatment, that is another fault of government, see the pattern, they create the problem, and are just going to make it worse.

      • slackwarerobert

        And if we didn’t get rid of slavery black unemployment would be zero today.

  • Robert Portly

    Wait until you get involved in the American health care system. It all looks great until you have a problem. I am paying 16k this year for health care. This is three times what any other civilized country would pay. Until people wake up an realize the parasitic insurance companies are the problem we are doomed.

    • Lianne

      We pay more for insurance because society demands more from our health care. Take, for example, that many countries do not even consider an infant who dies on the the day of the birth as a live birth. Some of those countries scouff at our definition of a live birth. In Belgium and France any birth that occurs at less than 26 weeks in considered lifeless even if there is a pulse. In Austria and Germany the infant must weigh 500 grams, that is 1 pound, in Switzerland the infant must be at least 12 inches in height. Your insurance premiums are paying for the many NICU’s we have across the nation that spend billions of dollars trying to keep premies alive.
      We could change our definition of a live birth. We could put into place selective insurance where you select want you want to cover. We could cut our health care system to equal that of Canada, and many of the European countries.Or you can continue to whine about the abiltity you have to pay for health insurance.

      • borborygmi

        I am confused Lianne are you for or against NICU”S Are you Pro LIfe?

    • $8194357

      You think its bad now?
      Wait until its free…

    • Onslaught1066

      So? Take a pill you cheap bastard.

      • slackwarerobert

        Do you not listen to obama. To many people are taking pills, so that option is taken away as well.If healthcare is a right, then put the medical classes online so everyone can take them. Now we will have 300 million doctors and there will be no shortage. You would think after Pasteur the government would learn that medical doctors are not always the answer, they are also the problem.

        • Onslaught1066

          Whatever that meant.

    • Gern Blanston

      How do insurance companies affect the price of healthcare? I thought healthcare affected the price of insurance.

      • slackwarerobert

        They don’t sell insurance. They are selling payment policies.

    • slackwarerobert

      Why don’t you just put the money in the bank, if you had been doing that since you were 18, you could pay cash for any treatment. Guess what, when you pay cash there is no pre existing conditions, no one tells you you can’t have that treatment. A heart bypass is only $20K if you pay cash, slipped disk $9K. So if you are unlucky, you are still a few hundred thousand still in profits. Then go self insured on your cars, and really save some bucks.

    • slackwarerobert

      But if you want to see why healthcare costs are so bad… It is the government, they don’t allow hospitals to be built, they limit doctors allowed to practice, they pay for unneeded medical treatment. Hospitals are only required to stabilize, not treat till better. Then they write laws to enrich their lawyers friends like kerry.

    • slackwarerobert

      What are you going to do when the government not only tells you you can’t get treated, but they also tell the doctors not to treat you. An insurance company can only refuse to pay for your treatment, they can’t stop you from getting it. I’ll take won’t pay over will stop any day. And what are you going to do when the treatment that works for you is not “approved” treatment?

  • Judy Morris

    Without the damn wars, the debt would be zero. That said, spending a trillion a year on Medicare and Medicaid is insane. We can’t afford but but we can’t afford the trillion dollar plus foreign policy monster either.

    • Waski_the_Squirrel

      The wars are expensive, but they are no the reason we have a debt. To get out of debt, we need government wide spending cuts…and some very painful at that.

      • $8194357

        But we can’t be out of money..
        We still got check blanks…

        • slackwarerobert

          We are out of money, they run the presses 24/7 and can’t print enough now. Why do you think they want all electronic money, they don’t have to print it, and can just lie to the banks that the money is there.

      • slackwarerobert

        They are only expensive because they don’t just use cheap carpet bombing, instead they shoot $1.5M missiles at a a $4K truck.

    • Gern Blanston

      “Without the damn wars, the debt would be zero”
      That is plain and simply wrong.

      • $8194357

        But shes passionate about it..
        Leftist emotion trumps rules of law..
        They always have any way..

    • sbark

      and who entered the 1st war, that in 1960’s real uninflated dollars was just as expensive if not more, and alot more in terms of lives…………
      Dem’cat JFK who went full bore into the Vietnam war……and then after the Dem’cats “offed’ him…….LBJ (D) went and spent 15 trillion on the war on poverty which essentially replaced the Dem’cat KKK actions with an even more cruel and inhumane action……..a lifetime of dependency, ghetto crime and single parent families.

    • http://www.dagen.net/ Damon Gentry

      Wrong. Assuming the wars (both of them) were financed by debt, the total addition to U.S. debt is $3.7T. (see http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/29/us-usa-war-idUSTRE75S25320110629). That’s expensive, but only accounts for less than 1/4 of the $16T debt we have today.

  • Albert Dunderfinch

    Yes, and if we had not built roads, or sewer systems it would have saved a fortune. Try this one Rob: What if we did not piss away trillions on defense? What if we did not let the military contractors bilk us with boats, guns, and planes we do not need? No discussion, right Rob? We never talk about the rich robbing us, no it is always the welfare cheats. It would be much better to have one more nuclear submarine we do not need than two or three billion in health care for the poor. This is exactly how you rats think, operate, and lie. People don’t matter, but your tax cuts for the rich do. You greedy bastards.

    • $8194357

      Where is Mildred Joel?
      Took Hideys dress off did we…

    • Gern Blanston

      Defense is but a small piece of the pie compared to healthcare. Plus it is defined in the constitution.

    • slackwarerobert

      Rich do not rob us, as they do not get refundable tax credits. Only rich robbing us are the friends of obama who are tax cheats and won’t get prosecuted by his holiness. I don’t see what a nuclear sub has to do with anything other than a constitutional power to defend the country from foreign and domestic enemies. Alas the patomic is to shallow for it to sneak up and take out obama. How many miles of FEDERAL roads are there, and how much do they cost? STATES maintain their roads, if you have to many potholes you should right your state, county, and city officials. I think you will find they stole the tax payers money, just look at california.

  • sbark

    Just think of it if the govt had stayed out of Health care ……..and the War on Poverty……
    …..the math says each of them have cost socity 15 trilion each……….
    ……..and neither are responsibilites outlined in the USA Constitution……….we never should have been in either.
    ……..in stark contrast to defense spending

    • $8194357

      Defense spending is one of the few Constitutional
      reasons for Congress to spend and tax…

  • $8194357

    The communist war on poverty and
    government health care is bankrupting America..

    Margret Thatcher said as much…
    Socialism works fine until ya run out of other peoples money…

    • two_amber_lamps

      You can always borrow… and borrow… and borrow… and borrow… and…. inflate the currency… and borrow…. and borrow…. and inflate the currency…. and borrow…. and borrow…..

      Detect a trend yet? :)

      • $8194357

        yeah…
        One that has been going on since Woodrow gave the Treasury over to the international federal reserve bankers back in 13…

        crony capitaist wealth redistribution ponzi coming to its only logical end very soon…

        What goes around comes around to a new generation of know it all know nothing useful idiots for the olagarchy…

        Read this….30’s all over again..

        Quote:
        Findings & Forecasts, October 24, 2012
        Tech­noc­racy and the IMF:

        New Global Mon­e­tary System?
        Who is left to spend our way out of deflation?
        This is possibly the most important story of the year, if not the decade:

        The IMF is seriously considering a plan from the 1930’s called “The Chicago Plan Revisited” that would abandon the central bank system of debt/credit monetary control in favor of direct state-issued currency.

        Originally put forth by prestigious economic professors at the University of Chicago, the plan would revolutionize monetary policy and potentially flip the entire planet into a system of state-run Technocarcy.

        Please take time to read and understand this important topic.

        Click the link above to read this article, and please share it with others on your favorite social media!

        Regards,

        Patrick Wood, Editor

  • slackwarerobert

    Isn’t this the same math the post office uses? “We have plenty of money as long as we don’t pay our bills.” Now add up how much the surpluses are if you only spend money on what you are constitutionally allowed to spend money on. We would have surplusses till the sun burned out.

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