Federal spending has grown to previously unimaginable levels in a stunningly short time. Even before the COVID crisis, the U.S. budget had begun going off the rails. Congress has spent more than $6 billion in the last two fiscal years, which exceeds the country’s GDP. The federal debt has rapidly grown to exceed the size of the entire economy.
Instead of looking for ways to return the government to sanity post-COVID, Congress is now looking to expand federal entitlements, with no limit to future outlays. The Biden administration is urging Democrat lawmakers to move forward with $4.1 trillion in new spending, which has found some Republican consent up to nearly $600 billion.
The Democrats have targeted Medicare for expansion as part of their new spending plan. Medicare is the most responsible program for the country’s projected long-term debt disaster and needs significant reform. The program’s costs are expected to double over the next decade and to consume nearly one-third of all federal tax dollars.
Instead of reform, Democrats are pressing to expand Medicare to add dental, vision, and hearing benefits. This level of expanded benefits would exceed the scope of even Canada’s comprehensive healthcare programs.
The financial report to Congress from the Medicare trustees in April 2020, well before the full scope of the COVID pandemic was known, already painted a dark picture. The trustees then reported that the program was in deficit and that revenue would not match spending at any point in the future. They warned that by 2026 Congress would have to choose between significant tax increases or at least 10 percent cuts in benefits.
The report went on to warn that, “The financial projections in this report indicate a need for substantial changes to address Medicare’s financial challenges. The sooner solutions are enacted, the more flexible and gradual they can be. The early introduction of reforms increases the time available for affected individuals and organizations, including health care providers, beneficiaries, and taxpayers, to adjust their expectations and behavior. The Trustees recommend that Congress and the executive branch work closely together with a sense of urgency to address these challenges.”
Despite the clear warning alarms being directed to Congress, the Biden administration and Democratic lawmakers are designing plans to make the country’s Medicare problems much worse. Despite claims that new benefits will be “paid for,” no actual methods for funding have been disclosed.
Unless Republicans get serious about the government’s addiction to spending money it doesn’t have and cannot realistically expect to get from more taxation, their credibility as opponents to the Democrats is in danger.