On Facing the Future, Wilson H. Taylor Resident Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy at the American Enterprise Institute Joseph Antos revealed a new report on health care reform by AEI and the Brookings Institution. Former Ambassador and Congressman Richard N. Swett also joined me to discuss dysfunction in Congress and the need for bipartisan solutions on key national issues.
“The way I think of this report is that it is a basic primer on the problems that we have that are driving up health care costs but not driving up value … and also driving up governmental costs which are contributing greatly to our overall national fiscal problems,” Antos said. “We are devoting huge amounts of resources, both publicly and privately, to a system that really isn’t sustainable in the long run.”
He added that this is really a question of priorities. “We have a lot of federal priorities beyond health care, and to the extent that federal health spending is growing largely unconstrained … that means we will have less money to spend on other things that everybody cares about.”
Antos said that everyone can have different opinions or priorities on where the government should spend our money, but everyone can also agree that the federal government should be using our money wisely in many areas, not just health care.
On the issue of political dysfunction, Swett said, “We are at a real important transition period in this country’s history … we have a real crisis in confidence; there is no confidence in the government.”
He added that people are frustrated with the status quo, and politicians have forgotten the people and the people’s confidence in the government is what makes the system work. Swett said he has watched the decline over the past 30 years, even when he was in Congress.
“If you are going to build back confidence in the public, you have to do that step by step,” he said. “There are tremendous needs throughout this country … issues need to be debated, but they need to be debated constructively in a way that we ultimately get things going and get things done, as opposed to just making a debate for the sake of disagreeing.”
Hear more on “Facing the Future.” I host the program each week on WKXL, NHTalkRadio.com (N.H.), and it is also available via podcast. Join me and my guests as we discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders, elected officials and candidates for public office. Past broadcasts are available here. You can now subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or through RSS.