An interesting article this week in The New Republic by Jonathan Chait about what he deems “entitlement hysteria”. He brings up, correctly, that there’s a lot of talk, but not a lot of action in Washington on the long term health of Medicare and Social Security. Chait also argues that the reason for inaction is a lack of urgency and a lack of permanency. While this is somewhat true (nothing will fall apart tomorrow), what Chait is off on is the impact. For many (especially considering the housing market AND lack of savings), Social Security may be even more important in the future. While people still need to save and build a nest egg for themselves, they also need something they can rely on in retirement, which is what Social Security is all about.
When it comes to Medicare, Chait is right on – the biggest challenge to the future of Medicare, and health care more generally, is cost. That’s why it’s time the Presidential candidates start to address this issue, as well as financial security. The cost of inaction is too high, not just for us, but for the next generation.
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