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Health care and the contest of credibility

MedicaidMichael Gerson
1/25/2011

The Obama administration is taking a Clintonian approach to the deficit problem, particularly with regard to health-care price controls. The Congressional Budget Office will likely report cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and other health-care costs as huge savings over the years (a perk that is feasible on paper but not in reality), while Republicans propose cutting discretionary domestic spending without touching Medicare. But Medicare reform is essential to America’s fiscal future, leaving Republicans with a political dilemma. Obama’s plan, neatly laid out on paper, is far more politically palatable (even if it does cause “immediate pain”) than a more gradual Republican plan that subsidizes citizens to buy their own health insurance and leaves those over 55 unaffected. However, the unsustainable nature of Obama’s plan could affect his credibility in the long run.

Gerson is a nationally syndicated columnist who appears twice weekly in the Washington Post.

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