Newt Gingrich is right about the economy and what Republicans still need to get done regarding health care:
The U.S. economy has been growing and breaking records ever since President Trump first took office and Republicans took control of Congress.
Many in the GOP are hoping this success will help them get re-elected in November. Some consultants I’ve spoken with seem to think it will inoculate Republican candidates against most all Democratic attacks.
They are mostly right, except for one area – health care.
No doubt, Republicans should be proud of the enormous success of the economy. But the economy won’t reach its full potential and the GOP will not win big in the 2018 elections unless Republicans deal with the cost of health care in America.
The reason is simple:
Health care represents nearly one-fifth of our country’s economy and is the largest driver of government spending. It is also such a huge slice of household budgets that many Americans don’t end up feeling the benefits of the 4.1 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP). In 2016, individual health care costs amounted to $10,328 per person (in 1960, that figure was $146).
As Dave Winston and Myra Miller at The Winston Group have noted, with nearly half of Americans saying they are living paycheck-to-paycheck (with no reserves for emergencies) it is hard for people to “feel the prosperity” implicit in a remarkably strong macroeconomy. Their individual micro-economies are too deeply impacted by the cost of health care.
Additionally, health care costs are out-pacing income growth because businesses have had to eschew raises and promotions to afford more and more health care costs. According to a 2017 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Education Trust and federal income data, “premiums for an employer-provided family insurance plan have climbed 19 percent, while worker pay increased 12 percent.” The additional money Americans are receiving in their paycheck from the Tax Cut and Jobs Act helps, but lowering health care costs still needs to be a priority.
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