Does all public policy come down to health care costs?

It seems like a lot of old and new political issues seems to be turning on health care costs:

  • Highway safety. Massachusetts is moving toward a tougher seat belt law and a key argument is that higher seat belt use will reduce Medicaid costs. That argument has been around for years but is now gaining increasing weight compared to the “freedom to kill yourself” argument.
  • Walmart. Anti-Walmart activists have used a variety of tactics to slow the growth of the retailer. Now —especially in Maryland— they are taking aim at the company for not providing sufficient health benefits.
  • President Bush is devoting a major portion of the State of the Union address to health care costs.

Where else could we see health care drive policy?

  • Fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan will drive up health care costs for decades as soldiers with physical and emotional injuries return home. Will that become a key argument of the anti-war movement?
  • Immigrants may or may not increase Medicaid costs, but they do pay in to Medicare. Will that be a factor in immigration reform?
January 22, 2006

One thought on “Does all public policy come down to health care costs?”

  1. The fact that healthcare costs are being considered as a factor in so many issues of the day is merely a refelction of the reality that healthcare costs figure so highly in so many aspects of our lives. When healthcare spending now accounts for 16 percent of our GDP, that makes it a dominant element of our economy. I haven’t done a real comparison, but I would venture a guess that it is the only consumer good we purchase that has risen so much in its proportion of the average American’s spending over the last 25 years.

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