(THE WEEK) Ryan Cooper — In New Hampshire last night, Jeb Bush was at an event sponsored by one of the Koch brothers’ political organizations, and he spoke about health care policy. Referring to Medicare, he said that while current beneficiaries should stay on the program, we should “figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system,” because it will eventually collapse otherwise. Watch:
Two points: First, predictions of an explosion in federal health care spending are driven entirely by rising health care costs, not the generosity of Medicare as a program. Bring costs in line with other developed nations, and not only is Medicare secure, but the future deficit problem vanishes.
Second, the rate of increase in health care spending has slowed dramatically since the passage of ObamaCare. As Steve Benen notes, before that Medicare was predicted to run into funding difficulties by 2017. Now the date has been pushed back to 2030, and the projected level of Medicare spending in 2090 has been reduced from 13 percent of GDP to just 6 percent.
In other words, Medicare is doing fine. But Bush shows that the idea that Medicare is out of control remains an accepted fact among Republican presidential hopefuls — expect more of the same as the campaign heats up.