Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Sunday that the Obama White House was not adequately addressing the fiscal crisis in the health care system.
In an interview on ABC's This Week, Greenspan spoke with cautious optimism about the state of the economy, and he was largely praiseworthy on the administration's handling of the financial crisis. His main words of concern were offered for the president's approach to health care. Pointing to the vast number of baby boomers who will be eligible for Medicare benefits, Greenspan said that the White House was not doing enough to get the growth in costs of that system under control.
"You can't get around the fact that you have this big shift in the baby boomers retiring, that things fundamentally changed," he said. "And my view is that we have to attack both the original shortfall and make sure we fund whatever new initiatives occur in the health care area. It's not adequate to be strictly revenue-neutral."
Earlier in the program, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made the case that the best "path" towards reducing the country's deficits was through reforming the health care system. He didn't rule out levying an additional tax on high-income Americans in order to pay for it.
Greenspan called Geithner's remarks reflective of the "well-balanced" approach taken by the administration. But, in his view, they didn't go far enough. "What he didn't spell out," said Greenspan, "which he can't, actually, at this particular stage, is a very significant additional action is going to be required."