Monday, October 26, 2009

Interesting from Peter Orszag

the President's director of Office of Management and Budget (and the previous director of Congressional Budget Office). He responds in this post to a column in the Washington Post saying the two things with the best chance to control health care costs--changing tax treatment of employer paid premiums and a Medicare advisory commission--are missing from reform. Orazag notes that the tax on high cost premiums is a de facto capping, as I wrote last Friday, and that there is a Medicare advisory commission in the Baucus bill.

I agree with this and if these two items stay in, they should slow cost inflation. The worry for many worried about costs is that these are two things very likely to go in a House/Senate negotiation....but obviously Orszag should know. This blog post is fairly close to the White House saying those two things are priorities for us.

I also agree with him that there are some aspects of Baucus that the CBO is not crediting with savings that probably can save some money, but tax treatment and a Medicare commission are the two most certain. And both of these items are more important for cost control than is a public option (though I support a public option).

I also agree that doing nothing is the most certain path to fiscal disaster. Put another way, doing the same thing but hoping for a different result is one definition of insanity. Here is do nothing projection of the federal deficit.

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