July 16, 2008
Today I'm delivering testimony before the House Budget Committee on increasing the value of federal spending in health care. The webcast is posted here. This is the first of two hearings this week on health costs -- tomorrow I'll address similar issues before the Senate Finance Committee.
My statements will be familiar to those who have followed CBO's work on health care: they highlight evidence of the potentially substantial inefficiencies in health care and discuss potential pathways for reducing them.
I am increasingly convinced that a key problem is that our political system does not deal effectively with gradual long-term problems, and that a key impediment to improving the efficiency of our health care system is that most of us don't realize how much the system is currently costing (because the cost of employer contributions for health insurance is not salient to workers, even though that cost is passed along to workers in the form of reduced take-home pay).