The Government Takeover Already Happened

A new report finds that 6.3 million people lost job-based health insurance in 2009, that Medicaid provided coverage for 3.5 million of those workers, and that the federal government already shoulders 27 percent of the US healthcare bill. David Frum responds that the "'government takeover' of healthcare has already happened":

Under these circumstances, you have to wonder whether the preferred Republican big idea – federally subsidized risk pools – is really such a superior alternative to the Democratic plan for subsidized private insurance. Either way the federal government ends up paying the costs of treating the uninsured and uninsurable sickest – and post 2009, there may for many years be many more such people than expected or imagined back when the risk pool idea first began to circulate.

But healthcare spending grew more slowly than it has in decades, which is good news, right? Not neccessarily, says Ezra Klein:

The reality is that 2003, when health-care spending jumped by 8.3 percent, was a better year for health-care spending than 2009, when it rose by only 4 percent. The reason is that in 2003, GDP growth was an anemic-but-present 2.5 percent, while in 2009, GDP shrank by 2.6 percent. That meant the 2003 gap was smaller, and thus more sustainable.