Medicare, Medicaid To Cost $1 Trillion In 2011


Speaking of subsidy-driven health care spending, USA Today reports on the record total spending for the nation's two biggest health programs: 

Medicare and Medicaid spending rose 10% in the second quarter from a year earlier to a combined annual rate of almost $992 billion, according to new data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The two programs are on track to rise $90 billion in 2011 and crack the $1 trillion milestone for the first time.

The jump in health care spending is the biggest since the Medicare prescription drug benefit was added five years ago and ends a brief lull in the spending increases that occurred during the economic downturn.

But what did we do last year? We passed a law that expanded Medicaid by 16 million people and created a new set of private health insurance subsidies for people earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty line, or almost $90,000 for a family of four. 

NEXT: Control Health Subsidies, Control Health Spending

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  1. Put your pinky to the corner of your mouth when you read that headline.

    1. Someone once said that “economical” should replace “astronomical” to describe really large numbers.

      1. There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it’s only a hundred billion. It’s less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.

        1. Good idea! Let’s start selling stars to the Chinese. Time to start earning your keep, NASA.

          1. Make sure you’re not selling any of those that Rocky Mozell is already peddling on the radio.

            1. Would you buy anything from a guy named Rocky Mozell?

              1. nothing but pizza.

                1. I would but boxing lessons.

                  1. Fuck, I meant “buy”.

        2. Ah! Of course it was Feynman, how could I forget.

    2. It seems like just a few years ago when a billion dollars still sounded like a lot of money.

  2. Hey, hey, hey. This isn’t a problem. We have one of those trust fundy thingees. And they’ll just pay for by trustfunding it away or however those fancy things work.

  3. “Trust Funds” – Benefits so nice, we taxed you twice!

  4. $90,000 for a family of four
    Really? Where the hell have I been?
    Looks like this libertarian fat cat is getting himself some more subsidies!
    Monocles for everyone!

    1. You make less than $90k? I’m so sorry. Do you need a pair of shoes? How about some cans of food?

    2. I’m wondering what those of us who may way, way WAY less than $90k get?

  5. We’re growing GDP!!!

    WOO HOO!

  6. Fuck selling *stars* to China. Let’s sell ’em NASA.

    1. China’s already stolen all the tech they need from NASA.

  7. We passed a law that expanded Medicaid by 16 million people and created a new set of private health insurance subsidies for people earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty line, or almost $90,000 for a family of four.


    In the f-ed up world of the modern liberal, this is called the “social safety net.”

    1. that’s a big fuckin’ net

      1. With a net that big, we’re gonna need a bigger boat.

        1. At some point, your boat is too big to be lifted by a rising tide.

          1. The boat’s already under water.

            1. In the f ed up world of the modern liberal, this is called cruel and not nearly enough.

    2. I’m reminded of an old libertarian quip (can’t remember the source – Claire Wolfe, maybe?) to the effect that a program originally intended to serve free hot lunches to one million poor kids will end up needing not one million, but six million meals per day.

      Once you’ve established the program, people will argue, shouldn’t these other one million kids be eligible too? I mean, they’re almost as poor. And someone else will argue, why just lunch? If these families are too poor to buy a good lunch, they’re probably too poor to buy breakfast and dinner too.

      And hey presto, expanding safety net.

      1. There are some schools where 80% of the kids are getting free or subsidized lunches.

        Up to 76% of kids in Adams and Yakima counties, in WA, have applied for subsidized or free lunches. About 43% of the children under 5 in Yakima county who are supposedly living in poverty are Latino. That number jumps to 70% in Mason County.

        I’m still hunting for that part of the Constitution where it states that the government’s job is to take money from my paycheck to feed the many, many children of Mexico’s o’erteeming loins. If anybody finds the citation, please let me know.

  8. “We passed a law that expanded Medicaid…”

    “We” kemosabe?

  9. Anyone know what happened to Tim Cavanaugh?

    Did he go on vacation?

    1. I believe he was fired for posting multiple 10,000 word diatribes about carmageddon and not getting any real work done.

    2. What happened to Brian Doherty?

      1. ITS A PURGE BITCHES!!!!

    3. that’s funny, I haven’t seen Weigel around either. It’s getting so that no one even makes “shill” jokes anymore.

    4. Anyone know what happened to Tim Cavanaugh?

      I miss Cavanaugh. My Thesaurus and dictionary are beginning to gather dust.

  10. Can someone explain why Medicaid is untouchable? I understand that it’s hard to take free shit away from old people, but Medicaid should be easy to cut. You know, just dust off the old language about welfare queens and strapping young bucks buying t-bone steaks. We got welfare reform through in 1996; why can’t get rid of Medicare now?

  11. Can someone explain why Medicaid is untouchable?

    The fact that it is run at the state level with federal matching funds sets up all kinds of weird interference patterns.

    The states hate to cut it, because if they do they reduce their sweet, sweet matching funds.

    If the feds try to cut it, the states go all batshit about bankruptcy ‘n’ stuff.

    1. Can someone explain why Medicaid is untouchable?

      And the fact that in the broadest sense possible, no one wants to see someone die because they can’t afford care.

      Unfortunately, like the “access” argument, it looks good on paper but what does it mean and how does that get addressed?

      Medicaid is the defacto healthcare plan for poor people, so it’s here forever and ever, amen. Because anything else would be killing poor people.

      It’s a demagogue magnet.

      1. That’s fine, but it doesn’t really hold up given that we were able to get welfare reform signed by a Democrat in 1996 when he could easily have demagogued the shit out of the issue.

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