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New polls concerning the voter's diminishing appetite for making the hard choices to curb deficit spending and pay down the debt are not encouraging.  In fact, they are scary. 

Take this report from Politico in Monday morning's news brief:  "Govs face budget blowback"   Alexander Burns reports on the findings of  several polls.

"It was supposed to be one of the clearest messages of the 2010 elections: Voters were finally fed up with government spending.

"It felt like the usual rules had changed, and that Americans were worried enough about the siPolitico logoze of  government to support a new era of belt-tightening. They wanted leaders to make the tough choices – and would stick by the ones who did.

"Now, a new wave of polling has challenged that consensus, raising serious questions about whether voters really are yearning for a grown-up conversation about the cost of government — or would simply rather keep punting the problem down the road, just like in the past.

"Almost every governor who’s tried to deliver a take-your-medicine message has paid a price. And widespread polling data suggests a chasm between what Americans say they want and the price they’re prepared to pay to get there."

These latest polls reaffirm what some political observers have believed for a long time — that Americans want big government service, they just not want to pay for it.

This is indeed a very bad sign for the healthcare industry.

Congress, badly divided on the depth and scope of spending cuts with both political parties dancing around the possibility of another government shutdown, could very well fold their cards — yet again — without producing a meaningful solution to this growing crisis. 

This is not the time for healthcare leaders to sit on the sideline.

The LAST THING healthcare providers should want is for the bond markets to impose fiscal discipline on us.  Given that Medicare is the single biggest driver of the deficit, we probably will face devastating consequences. We will be much better off if we force Congress to address this matter, even if it is the adoption of the  deficit reduction strategy set out in the report from the  bi-partisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.   This plan would probably placate the bond markets who are becoming increasingly restive with our bi-partisan lack of fiscal discipline.  If Congress fails to raise the deficit limit, given the hard-line approach of many of the Tea Party members, all bets are off. It is possible that could trigger a market response akin to the austerity measures forced on Greece.

Whether a massive health system, a thriving community hospital, physician group practice or a small business like JohnGSelf Associates, we all have a major stake in what happens in Washington over the next several weeks.

 

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