According to an analysis by USA Today, American taxpayers “are on the hook for an extra $55,000 a household to cover rising federal commitments made just in the past year for retirement benefits, the national debt and other government promises.” Federal obligations now stand ata record $546,668 per household, quadruple what the average U.S. household owes for all mortgages, car loans, credit cards and other debt combined.

Fortunately for Americans, President Barack Obama recognizes that the federal government has a spending problem. He told CSPAN this weekend: “We are out of money.” Unfortunately, President Obama’s proposed solution will only make the problem much, much worse. While Obama correctly recognizes that our increasingly government controlled health care sector is on a trajectory that “will see health care cost as an overall share of our federal spending grow and grow and grow and grow until essentially it consumes everything,” Obama’s solution is to accelerate this trend by creating a government run health plan that will eventually cancel private coverage and care. The cost of this new government run health care for all? At least $122.6 billion annually, with a totaling $2 trillion by 2019.

How can President Obama possibly lower government health care expenditures while moving millions of Americans from private care and onto government rolls? Obama tells CSPAN: “What we are going to do is to invest more in prevention and wellness programs. We are going to manage how treatments are provided more effectively. We are going to initiate things like electronic medical records … All these things will drive down costs.” But private health providers already invest in prevention and wellness programs and there is no evidence government programs would do that job better. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) rightly dismissed the administration’s electronic medical record savings claims. How about the federal government’s capacity to “manage how treatments are provided more effectively”? Lets look at the record.

When Congress added a prescription drug benefit to the Medicare program, they adopted some cost containment provisions including the introduction of competitive bidding. But just as this new process is about to begin, saving taxpayers an estimated $1 billion annually, Congress stepped in and canceled the cost savings measures.The result: while average citizen can buy a power wheelchair for $2,174, Medicare pays $4,023.

During that same CSPAN interview, President Obama claimed: “We are operating in deep deficits, not caused by any decisions we’ve made on health care so far.” Au contraire. Then Senator Barack Obama voted to kill that cost containment provision.

There are ways to control our runaway entitlement spending. For starters remove Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security from auto-pilot by subjecting them to regular reauthorization, means test benefits, and encourage personal savings through automatic enrollment in individual retirement accounts. The administration should be made to prove it can wring savings out of Medicare as it exists today before they are allowed to make millions of more Americans dependent on the U.S. government.

Quick Hits: