Morici is right: Neither party serious about deficit reduction

April 07, 2011

I completely agree with Professor Peter Morici's assessment ( "Republicans have a chance to lead on the budget: will they?" April 6) that neither political party is serious about tackling the deficit.

The main driver of these budget shortfalls are health care costs. The Democrats abdicated responsibility to completely transform the system when passing the Affordable Care Act. While Rep. Paul Ryan does make significant cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, which will save the federal government trillions, his "Path to Prosperity" does not eliminate the perverse incentives that drive medical inflation. Ryan's budget repeals the Affordable Care Act, which is a step backwards.

Although Obamacare does not do enough to reduce health care costs, it sets up a number of pilot programs like moving away from fee-for-service payment for doctors, paying bonuses to hospitals that improve patient results after surgery, and providing $200 million in grants to small businesses to set up corporate wellness programs. All of these options could be solutions for the future. In addition, if the vouchers and block grants do not cover the cost of health care insurance, the burden of payment will be shifted onto the elderly and the poor. Finally, why are those people above the age of 55 exempt for these restrictions? Shouldn't all Americans have to participate in the same health care system? It just doesn't seem fair.

Adam Hyams, Jericho, NY

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