Drop your pants, turn your head, and cry — if it passes, the Democrats’ plan for health care reform could be a painful experience for us all.
With any luck, I will have the pleasure of introducing a new contributor this week, a man who will provide America’s Right with some much-needed expertise with regard to all things health care. I am exceedingly excited about the prospect. So as not to step on his toes while still being sure to point out the cost to America of the health care reform bill currently before Congress, I wanted to highlight some of the Congressional Budget Office’s cost estimates of the Ted Kennedy-sponsored legislation.
Without getting into too much detail–again, toe-stepping–I do think that Americans should watch for the White House to continue to argue that the legislation closest to their design is different than that proposed by Kennedy and know that, if anything, Kennedy’s could be less expensive than the Obama plan.
What we’re seeking here, though, is a plan which will cause the United States of America to incur more than $1 trillion in debt in order to expand insurance coverage for an additional 16 million people. That’s 16 million out of the 46 million uninsured often touted by the left — a number which should be skewed because it includes illegal immigrants and people who can afford health care but choose not to.
Anyway, here’s some excerpts from the CBO report examining (1) the budget outlook under current law, (2) the likely budgetary effect of efforts to expand the scope of insurance coverage, (3) the potential for reducing health care spending, (4) the likely impact of specific changes in the health system, and (5) mechanisms for engendering efficiency gains in health care over time. The full report can be read HERE. Some selections (emphasis mine):
The federal government’s budgetary commitments to health care (including both spending programs and tax preferences) total more than $1 trillion in 2009. Many proposals to significantly expand health insurance coverage would add to federal costs by providing large subsidies to help lower-income individuals and families purchase insurance. Such proposals could permanently boost the government’s budgetary commitments to health care by something in the vicinity of 10 percent. Improving the long-term budget outlook would require addressing that added cost in addition to the budgetary strains anticipated under current law. Health care legislation might include provisions that would make it budget neutral over the first 10 years, but such legislation might nevertheless add to budget deficits in later years.
In other words, the real cost will not begin for another two years, when that real cost to skyrocket into the multiple trillions of borrowed dollars. Folks, it’s important to remember that this is a bell that we can simply never un-ring.
Many experts believe that a substantial share of spending on health care contributes little if anything to the overall health of the nation.
Throughout this debate, it seems so easily forgotten that our health care system is already the envy of the world. But this administration has no problem spending money we simply do not have in order to reduce the effectiveness of the system for everyone in order to add a tiny fraction of the population to the rolls.
Therefore, one broad long-range approach for reform that has drawn interest recently would combine specific policy actions–to generate near-term savings and provide experience that would lay the groundwork for future savings–with a mechanism or framework to impose ongoing pressure on the health care system to achieve efficiencies in the delivery of health care. That path would require tough choices to be made, and its effectiveness would depend ultimately on the willingness of federal policymakers to maintain significant and systemic pressure over time. Without meaningful reforms, the significant costs of many current proposals to expand federal subsidies for health insurance would be much more likely to worsen the long-run budget outlook than to improve it.
Unless I’m reading things wrong, it sounds like the CBO is advocating changing the current system only so much so that delivery of health care is more effective. That’s it. No sweeping reforms. No public options. None of that malarkey.
Regardless, it is vital to keep in mind as this debate rages on that government-run healthcare is the missing link the the evolution of an all-powerful centralized federal government. By bearing health care costs, the government will be in a better position to regulate every single aspect of our lives, from the airbags in our vehicles to the amount of trans fats we consume, to second-hand smoking in wide open fields.
As disastrous as it may be, legislation like Henry Waxman’s cap-and-trade bill can be undone. Obamacare? Not so much, and it alone is enough to flatline our economy and halt the spread of ingenuity, technology and talent which makes the American health care system the best in the world.