Sunday, April 15, 2007

Washington's Dirty (not little) Big Health Care Reform Secret

On Sunday March 4th 60 MINUTES Steve Kroft interviewed the Comptroller General of the United States -head of the U.S Government Accounting Office (GAO)-David Walker.. Appointed by former President Bill Clinton, Mr. Walker is now on a nationwide crusade to save the nation from what he calls a "fiscal tsunami".

Now mind you accountants by temperament are intelligent,sober people not prone to excesses of emotional rhetoric but if you heard Mr. Walker's interview you need to be scared into action.

This is the man with the data and he did not mince words-How refreshing from within the Federal Government!

"I would argue that the most serious threat to the United States is not someone hiding in a cave in Afghanistan or Pakistan but our own fiscal irresponsibility," Walker told Steve Kroft of 60 MINUTES

We suffer from a fiscal cancer. It is growing within us. And if we do not treat it, it could have catastrophic consequences for our country," Walker stated.

The cancer, Walker says, are massive entitlement programs we can no longer afford, exacerbated by a demographic glitch that began more than 60 years ago-- a dramatic spike in the fertility rate called the "baby boom."

To illustrate their impact, he uses a power point presentation as he travels around the country with his "fiscal wake up tour" to show what would happen in 30 years if the U.S. maintains its current course and fulfills all of the promises politicians have made to the public on things like Social Security and Medicare.

...the real problem is health-care costs. Our health care problem is much more significant than Social Security," he says. By that I mean that the Medicare problem is five times greater than the Social Security problem.The prescription drug bill was probably the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s," Walker argues.

This is no wild eyed zealot says CBS News.Yet some say he is a chicken-little overstating the magnitude of the problem.

I do not have the data that Comptroller General Walker has access to, nor do I have his accounting skills, but to me he is performing a great public service by sounding his alarms now. He is demonstrating a rare quality among Washington heads of federal agencies and even more rare among Washington politicians-namely backbone!

I know a bit about health-care economics and to me his message is a legitimate plea for fundamental and dramatic health care reform and what I call compassionate,fair and ethical, yet nevertheless, significant and yes painful,costs reductions.

Tough choices ahead - That's for sure. But not facing them is the worst choice we could possibly make

Dr. Rick Lippin


Blogger Cervantes said...

This is a test. This is only a test.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Rick Lippin said...

Thanks Cervantes;

Several of you tried to post a comment yesterday and received a prompt about "only using 300 characters".That is now fixed to my knowledge


Dr. Rick Lippin

3:24 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

My problem with the gentlemans statement would have nothing to do with his opinion or his accounting. My argument is we dont spend too much on entitlements but too little our budgetary problems could be easily solved with a saner defense budget...we spend more then the next 12 nations PUT TOGETHER.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Jack Lohman said...

Get the private money out of our political system and we'll see health care and govt spending fixed overnight. The right-wingers want to kill Medicare and they are now reducing the reimbursements to below cost to save money, when in fact the should just elimunated the overuse that occurs on the fee-for-service basis.

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