Future Budget Deficits Almost Entirely Due to Rising Private Sector Health Care Costs

For Immediate Release

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Dan Beeton, 202-239-1460

Future Budget Deficits Almost Entirely Due to Rising Private Sector Health Care Costs

Updated Interactive Calculator Shows Budget Deficits Virtually Disappearing if US Can Control Health Care Costs.

WASHINGTON - If the U.S. can get private health care costs
under control, federal budget deficits will not rise uncontrollably in
the future, according to an updated analysis released today by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

CEPR's interactive Health Care Budget Deficit Calculator
allows users to see that the bulk of projected U.S. budget deficits
would disappear if the U.S. had the same per person health care costs
as any of 30 other countries, all of which enjoy longer life
expectancies than the U.S.

"The U.S. health care system is
possibly the most inefficient in the world.  We spend twice as much per
person on health care as other advanced countries, but we have worse
health outcomes, including a lower life expectancy," said Dean Baker, CEPR co-director. "Without health care cost containment, such as allowing Medicare and a public option to negotiate directly with drug companies, it will be almost impossible to prevent exploding future budget deficits."

The
U.S. government pays for approximately half of the country's health
care - almost all of which is actually provided by the private sector -
through programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Thus, the bulk of our
projected rising budget deficits are due to skyrocketing health care
costs.

CEPR has updated the Calculator to take into account new
figures contained in the Congressional Budget Office's June 2009
Long-Term Budget Outlook.  While the current recession contributes to
projected budget deficits, the Calculator illustrates that the
long-term budget implications are minimal in comparison to rising
health care costs.

CEPR's interactive Health Care Budget Deficit
Calculator can be found here:
http://www.cepr.net/calculators/hc/hc-calculator.html.

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The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

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