We can't afford not to reform health care

I know, I know, I wrote about health care less than a week ago but everyone just has to read this post from Ezra Klein.

Here are the juicy bits (including charts!) for you lazy folk:

If you’re worried about the federal debt — particularly the long-term federal debt — there is literally no way you can afford not to reform health care. The following graph charts the drivers of federal spending over the next couple of decades. Look what leads the way:

CHART:Federal program growth protections

Yep. Medicare and Medicaid. Now, because the government releases a lot of graphs like this one, a lot of folks end up believing that the problem is Medicare and Medicaid. But it’s not. It’s generalized health care spending, and it’s as much a burden on the private sector as the public treasury. The next graph tracks the next few decades in GDP per capita, then in GDP per capita after taxes (which is to say, including cost increases in Medicare and Medicaid), then, on the yellow line, GDP per capita after taxes and after private health care spending. And what you see is, to a wonk’s mind, quite scary: Real income actually goes down. The country becomes, effectively, poorer.

CHART: Health care spending burden in terms of GDP

The amount of money this country spends on health care is staggering, and without major changes, things are only going to get worse. So, while we worry about the money we may or may not be spending on bailing out Wall Street, we shouldn’t forget where a good deal more of our money is being wastefully spent.

Read Barack Obama’s health care plan and John McCain’s and decide for yourself which one sounds like it will more plausibly extend coverage and eventually lower costs.