By Thomas Geoghegan
If U.S. President Barack Obama wins re-election, let him thank his lucky stars that entitlements are out of control. If Medicare was capped and couldn’t shoot up automatically, unemployment would probably be in double digits.
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Out-of-control health-care spending is the only stimulus the Republicans can’t stop. What else is there? Go out late at night in some of the darkest American cities. Whether it’s Cleveland, Baltimore or St. Louis, it seems the only thing left to light up the gloom is a big hospital, shining like a 12-gated city, inlaid with MRIs like precious jewels, and for that we can give thanks to Medicare and Medicaid.
Imagine Cleveland without the Cleveland Clinic, or Baltimore without Johns Hopkins. Even in Chicago, with a more diversified base, the city would seem flat without the expansion at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Rush University Medical Center -- with all that hammering and sawing as they get ready for Obamacare.
If Medicare, in particular, wasn’t out of control, many inner-city high-school grads would find it even harder to get jobs. According to research cited in the Harvard “Pathways to Prosperity” report in 2011, health care by itself added a half- million jobs even in the recession -- not just ones for high- school grads as security guards and cooks, but jobs for those with “some college,” such as respiratory technicians.