When Increases Are Cuts

State of Reform is a health policy conference coming up on January 5th in Seattle. They have a video out in which they claim that our health care policy in Washington is in trouble because we have $4.6 billion “less” money in the upcoming budget, “not new revenue,” so we can’t afford health care spending because we have to “cut and cut and cut.”

There’s one little problem: we’re actually taking in, and spending, more money than we ever have before. The cuts are reductions in proposed spending increases, not in how much we spent in the previous budget. That’s not to say we are in great shape, but the fact is that we could level-fund everything and still have money left over.

Although that’s not the worst thing about the video: the worst part is when they try to say how big “4.6 billion” is and talk about footsteps around the Earth and how many hours are in a year and other such insipid comparisons that don’t inform anything at all.

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