Odds and Ends
27 9, 8:24am
I didn't say it was the answer to debt, nor is it actually spending more money, at least in the longer time frames that people should be thinking, and for debt, the only ones that make any sense to think about. The short-term isn't important for the debt, it's the mid to long term that matters. The status quo before the ACA was definitely not the answer to our debt. The ACA is FAR from perfect, but at least it's a step forward, out of what was an untenable situation. We don't have free health care, yet our government spends more on health care than most countries that do. With what we spend privately, our health care costs are more than double (and it's more than 50% more than the rest) that of 3/4 of the other OECD countries (i.e. the other rich countries). And despite that, we rank below most of those other nations in health outcomes. There is a ton of room for improvement, and the ACA is a step towards that. Hopefully just the first step, but unfortunately, partisan politics have prevented any improvement (and prevented it from being nearly as good a step as it could have been). Still, it is an improvement, it will save the US government about $100 billion over the next 10 years, which, while it will hardly solve the deficit, certainly doesn't hurt. Now, we could easily improve it, and I certainly hope we do, there are many flaws in the bill, but we were in a position where we had almost nowhere to go but up, we had one of the worst health care systems, financially, that you could possibly imagine. Really, we can't afford not to have free health care. It saves so much money, because routine costs are covered, and people don't put things off until there are enormous expenses for emergency treatments which the rest of us usually wind up paying for.
Creating jobs is a good idea, but that doesn't compete with health care, they are complementary. Solving health care will only contribute to more and better jobs, as healthy people are far more productive, and our bizarre ways of paying for health care traps people in dead end jobs, stifles entrepreneurship, and even traps people on welfare (it is very difficult to jump right from unemployment to a job that will pay for health care, but if you take a job as a stepping stone, you lose publicly funded health care, which is a perverse incentive), etc.