Deficits Depend On Containing Health Costs

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WASHINGTON, (UPI) —  An online calculator shows if U.S. healthcare costs are contained, the budget deficit will not rise uncontrollably, a non-profit groups says.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research’s Health Care Budget Deficit Calculator allows people to see what projected U.S. budget debts would be if the United States had the same per-person healthcare costs as any other developed country — all of which enjoy longer life expectancies than the United States.

The U.S. government, through programs like Medicare and Medicaid, pays for approximately half of the country’s healthcare — almost all of which is actually provided by the private sector. Thus, the bulk of the projected rising budget deficits are due to skyrocketing private healthcare costs paid for by the government, the group said.

Spending and revenue assumptions were used from the Congressional Budget Office’s 2011 Long-Term Budget Outlook.

“The country faces a healthcare cost crisis. If it addresses this crisis, it does not have a deficit problem,” the center said in a statement. “If it doesn’t address the healthcare cost crisis, there is no plausible way to address the problem of the deficit.”

The calculator is at http://www.cepr.net/calculators/hc/hc-calculator.html.

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