Monday, December 17, 2007

Logan's Run, here we come

I ran across this cheerful piece of information today.

For decades, spending on Medicare and Medicaid—the federal government’s major health care programs—has been growing faster than the economy, as has health spending in the private sector.

The rate at which health care costs grow relative to national income — rather than the aging of the population — will be the most important determinant of future federal spending. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that under current law, federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid measured as a share of GDP will rise from 4 percent today to 12 percent in 2050 and 19 percent in 2082 — which, as a share of the economy, is roughly equivalent to the total amount that the federal government spends today. |Long Term Budget Outlook in PDF - Congressional Budget Office|

To resolve this situation, there are only three possibilities: "To prevent deficits from growing to levels that could impose substantial costs on the economy, revenues must rise as a share of GDP, or projected spending must fall — or some combination of the two outcomes must be achieved." |Id.|There will be many unexpected problems along the road in the future, but it's disheartening when you don't have a good solution for the problems you can foresee.

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