Healthcare deficit calculator coughs up grim results without reform

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With projections of long-term deficits dependent on projection of healthcare costs, the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) has updated its HealthCare Budget Deficit Calculator to show what long-term budget deficits would look like if the U.S. did not pay as much for healthcare. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t look good.

“If the United States had per person healthcare costs that were comparable to costs in other wealthy countries, then we would be looking at long-term budget surpluses not deficits,” CEPR said in a statement.

Without savings linked with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, CEPR calculates that the U.S. would be in the hole $323 billion in potential savings from 2013 to 2022.

“By allowing the user to choose the per person healthcare costs of other advanced nations, the calculator shows that deficits would not continue to rise uncontrollably if we did not pay as much in healthcare," the Washington, D.C.-based organization stated. “At the same time, it illustrates how hard it will be to keep deficits from exploding if nothing is done to reduce healthcare costs.”

“The country faces a healthcare cost crisis. If it addresses this crisis, it does not have a deficit problem,” CEPR concluded. “If it doesn’t address the healthcare cost crisis, there is no plausible way to address the problem of the deficit.”

The interactive calculator is available on CEPR’s website