Will Health Care Reform Increase the National Debt?
Question: I’m concerned that in the long term, the U.S. health care plan will ultimately increase the national debt. Is this true? It’s hard to know the truth when you live in a house filled with smoke and mirrors!
Paul Solman: Very very VERY hard to know. But unless there are real constraints to spending in the implementation of the health care bill, it’s hard to see how covering more of the uninsured and subsidizing some of that coverage won’t increase spending and thus the national debt.
The real question, however, is what we GET for that increase. If it prevents more illness, adds more pain-free years to the lives of fellow Americans, then is it an expenditure we should or shouldn’t make? And if it takes the pressure off ERs, say, because the indigent will no longer have to frequent them as a last (or only) medical resort, mightn’t that be better for us all?