It can’t be stressed enough how much our projected deficit problem basically fixed itself while most of Washington was trying to scaremonger the debt to justify cutting benefits. Paul N. Van de Water at CBPP did the math and found that since the recent round of deficit hysteria began in back in 2010, the CBO 10 year spending projection on Medicare and Medicaid has actually dropped by roughly $900 billion. From Paul N. Van de Water:

Health care cost growth has slowed substantially, as the latest projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) make clear Since late 2010, CBO has reduced its projection of cumulative Medicare and Medicaid spending over the 2011-2020 period by $900 billion (or nearly 10 percent over that period).

That date’s important because it was in late 2010 — and based on CBO’s August 2010 projections — when fiscal commission co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson issued their original budget proposal, which called for over $300 billion in Medicare cuts and nearly $60 billion in Medicaid savings through 2020. The original Bowles-Simpson proposal is often considered an appropriate benchmark for evaluating other deficit-reduction plans.

Even though government health care spending has already fallen by several times more than what Bowles and Simpson once said was necessary, just last month the duo was still claiming the government needed to cut Medicare benefits and raise the retirement age. How little these proposals change in the light of important new data should demonstrate what this austerity push has always been about.

Photo by RalfHeB released under Creative Commons License