Posted April 27, 2012
The United States now devotes approximately 18 percent of its gross domestic product to health care
In testimony today before the House Committee on Ways and Means, Alice Rivlin, co-chair of BPC's Debt Reduction Task Force, detailed the Domenici-Rivlin Protect Medicare Act and spoke about the need for structural reform to preserve Medicare:
"Medicare is a hugely successful program that has dramatically increased the availability of health care to seniors, increased the length and quality of life of older Americans, and greatly reduced their fear of being unable to afford care when they need it. We need to preserve Medicare’s guarantee of affordable health care for older and disabled people and make sure that the program is sustainable as the number of beneficiaries explodes and upward pressure on health care costs continues.
"Medicare reform is not just about Medicare. Medicare plays a crucial role in two of the most daunting challenges facing American policy makers: the relentless increase in the proportion of total spending that Americans collectively devote to health care (now about 18 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP) and rising); and the unsustainable projected increase in publicly held federal debt (now about 70 percent of GDP and rising). Medicare reform presents the opportunity to turn this large publicly-funded program into the leader in increasing the efficiency of health care delivery for all Americans – whether receiving care through public or private plans – improving the quality of health care services, slowing the growth of total health care spending at the national level, and (by slowing the projected growth of Medicare spending) reducing thegrowth of future debt.
"I believe that a well-crafted bipartisan bill that introduces a premium support model while preserving traditional Medicare can help achieve these goals."
Read Rivlin's full testimony in your web browser (Scribd)
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