'It's just math'

OK, now that they've signed a deal and left Washington, the budget crisis is over, right?


Putting aside the fact that the highly touted debt-ceiling agreement barely scratches the surface in terms of spending restraint on discretionary items, it doesn't even touch the massive expense of entitlement programs.

That will be for another day. But how long can Washington delay?

"The costs of the government's big health care programs are soaring again, expenses not tackled" in the debt deal, USA Today reported Wednesday. Medicare and Medicaid spending rose 10 percent in the second quarter this year when compared with the same period in 2010.

It is expected the cost of the two entitlements will top $1 trillion this year.

All this is even more disconcerting when you consider that health care inflation is at its lowest rate -- 1.7 percent -- in a decade. That means more patients are demanding more treatments, driving up the cost to taxpayers.

"There's no way to control the federal budget without controlling entitlements," one health consultant told USA Today. "It's just math."

And that's a subject many of our senators and representatives seem eager to avoid.