HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Monday, June 16, 2008

Health Summit: Learning About Future Fiscal Problems

Ezra Klein reports on how Congress is getting ready for health reform.  He writes,

. . . .  Today, the Senate Finance Committee is hosting the "Prepare for Launch" health reform summit. Baucus, Grassley, and the rest of the committee are holding panels, giving talks, listening to speeches, and generally putting on a public show of their seriousness about health reform. What does it mean? It's unclear. Baucus says it's about "learning." Grassley says it's about "listening." . . .

The morning plenary was given by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and was basically a bloodless recitation of what readers of this blog already knew. Towards the end, though, Baucus asked him to be a bit clearer on what would happen if Congress doesn't act to arrest the growth of health costs. "Well," said Bernanke, "as a matter of simple arithmetic, if you don't cut costs, one of three things will have to happen. You can shrink everything else, cutting military spending, national parks, and so forth. That's an unpleasant option. You can raise taxes tremendously, which has various costs on efficiency and growth. Or you can have huge deficits." . . .

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