Op-Ed: Budget Deal Ignored Health Care-Related Issues

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The newly enacted fiscal year 2012 budget and deficit-reduction agreement (S 365) "targets spending that isn't a significant problem" and "ignor[es] the chief driver of deficit growth: health care costs," Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik writes. Over the next 10 years, "government health care spending, including on Medicare, Medicaid and the [Children's Health Insurance Program], will expand to nearly 7%" of the U.S. gross domestic product, "up from 5.6% today" and "rising sharply to 9.4% of GDP by 2035," he writes. Hiltzik notes that the debt deal's "only treatment of the health care programs at all is to protect spending on anti-fraud measures," adding that it "bows to another deathless Washington shibboleth, which is that spending on anything can be restrained by ferreting out fraud."


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