On Monday President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers released a report called "The Economic Case for Health Care Reform." The report argues that Americans must curb their consumption of medical care in order to avoid soaring federal deficits, unsustainable burdens on family budgets, and damage to the economy. All of these claims are untrue.
In truth, Medicare can be fixed without subjecting the nation to medical scarcity. Telling all Americans they have to cut back on health care because Medicare is fiscally unsound is like ordering all Americans to go on diets because the food stamp program is in trouble.
It would be safer to reduce government's share of the health-care bill rather than lowering the standard of care for everyone and depressing the nation's largest industry.
Two-thirds of annual health spending increases are the result of the rapid development and use of new medications and devices, according to the CBO. But, as the CBO reminds us, these innovations "permit the treatment of previously untreatable conditions." If you had a heart attack in the 1980s and made it to the hospital you had only a 60% chance of living a year. Now your chance is over 90%. No one wants 1980s medicine at 1980s prices. And in 10 years, no one will want 2009 care.