Politico Advances “Lie” in Health Care Debate
Covering the health summit for Politico, Carrie Budoff Brown asserts under the headline “The big bipartisan lie” on February 25th:
If President Barack Obama really wanted to show he’s serious about winning over Republicans on health care reform, he could offer up some key concessions at Thursday’s summit, like caps on malpractice awards or allowing insurers to sell across state lines.
And if Republicans wanted to reciprocate, they could at least acknowledge the congressional scorekeepers are right — the Democratic plans cut the deficit in the long term and rein in health care costs.
But Brown has her facts wrong. The President’s own Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found that Obamacare would INCREASE total national health expenditures by $234 billion by 2019. On the claim that Obamacare cuts the deficit, Brown is on slightly firmer ground. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reported that if the Senate bill is implemented as written, it will cut the deficit. But Congress has an abysmal track record of actually making the spending cuts and tax hikes that past legislation calls for.
For example, the Senate bill cuts Medicare fees for doctors by 20% starting in 2011. Nobody believes these cuts will be allowed to happen. By changing just that provision, Obamacare ends up adding $196 billion to the deficit in the first 10 years and $765 billion in the second decade.
And that is just one of Obamacare’s accounting gimmicks. Once all of Obamacare’s phony accounting gimmicks are properly accounted, James Capretta has found the bill’s true cost jumps from $950 billion to $2.5 trillion.