This is only my opinion, but I am interested in Dopers correcting/agreeing/dissing my idea.
This opinion refers to the current US battle over “shuting down the government”.
I have heard, and for the purposes of this opinion I accept, that in 20 years (or so) Medicare will consume the entire federal budget-absent significant changes in the growth rate of medical care in the US. There would be nothing left for any other Governmental function. Regardless of the details, Medicare is the driving force behind the US deficit. The cost of the rest of the Government, even Social Security, are minor components.
People in the Government know this, I remember the first discussions of this back in the late 80s, and the question is how to deal with the problem.
To define the problem again: the cost of health care for everyone. Medicare is paid by the federal Government, but the costs weigh on everyone young and old.
There are two possible solutions (leave aside the probability that any given plan will actually work-no one knows. Either one is an act of faith.):
- reduce the cost via government regulation, increased technology and increased competition-lets call it plan D.
- reduce the cost via increased competition, increased technology, and increased government regulation-lets call it plan R.
Getting either D or R enacted requires getting by Grandma and the other party.
So, how does one do that? She is a formidable force in US politics.
Economics? Tea Party rallys? Bi-partisan commissions? Reasoned debate?
How about distraction and feint? Lets start this big noisy argument in the front of the room to attract everyone’s attention. While that is going on, enact (or keep) either D or R-or if necessary a combination of the two.
So, my question isn’t really whether this is going on-it clearly is- but do you think the politicians in Washington are smart enough to be doing this consciously? Or is this like evolution, lots of things are tried until something works.
So, random chance or the hand of politicians guiding the future?