False Encouragement on Health Care from the CBO

In a move sure to embolden Democrats desperately seeking health care reform, the Congressional Budget Office has released findings that the legislation currently working its way through the Senate Finance Committee will cost approximately $829 billion over the next ten years. Media outlets are touting the legislation as if it actually saves $81 billion over the decade.

What’s that smell? It smells like . . . like . . . oh, yeah — crap.

When Congress was first weighing the possible consequences of Medicare back in 1965, the entire program cost $3 billion. Furthermore, at that time, concerned about the future costs and obligations associated with such a large entitlement program, the House Ways and Means Committee projected that it would cost $12 billion by 1991, including an allowance for inflation.

As it turns out, Congress was only $95 billion off. In 1991, Medicare cost American taxpayers more than $107 billion, far beyond the $12 billion projected at the time of the program’s establishment. And things have gotten progressively more expensive; in 2008, the budget for Medicare was $444 billion.

Consider that again — when it came to Medicare, Congress predicted $12 billion, and reality was $107. What can we expect with a projected cost of $82.9 billion per year (if it were evenly split)?

Consider another question — when has the American federal government ever slashed the costs associated with any government program? That, I think, is only one of the reasons why The Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore just told Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto that the numbers are a “fantasy,” citing several flaws in the CBO’s analysis.

“Anybody who believes that we’re going to create this near-trillion-dollar entitlement and the government will save money is living in la-la land,” Moore said.

First of all, the CBO estimates assume that Congress will identify and excise between $400 and $500 billion in waste and fraud from Medicare. Now, I’ve pointed out several times here before that, if the government were able to reduce and eliminate waste, it would have done so. But we also should consider that cutting $500 billion from Medicare to fund an even more expensive and unsustainable government program would be the equivalent of neglecting to fund Medicare at all for a full year. Tell that to your grandparents.

Secondly, the CBO estimates that, after ten years, more than 25 million residents of the United States will still be uninsured. Fortunately, that number includes illegal immigrants, but I’m not certain at this time whether or not there is any sort of provision ensuring that citizenship be validated before benefits can be received. Any way you look at it, however, this number cuts the legs out from under the primary argument in favor of health care reform — the need to immediately ensure that everybody has coverage. Not only would everybody not have coverage, but the effects of the bill would not begin until 2013, one year after the next presidential election. If the need to cover everybody is so important and immediate, why not ensure that everyone is covered, and why wait until 2013? The answer is simple: it’s not about health care — it’s about control.

Third, the legislation includes a mandate. If businesses do not provide health care for employees, they face a penalty of anywhere between $750 and $1000. I have a few problems with this:

  • I’d love for someone on Capitol Hill to point out to me where, in the United States Constitution, the federal government has the right and the authority to mandate health insurance coverage.
  • For small and medium-sized business owners, it would be infinitely cheaper to just pay the penalty than continue to fund employee health care.

With regard to the former, I’m sure the provision is right there next to the right to homeownership which the Democrats read into our founding documents and used to facilitate the destruction of our economy. With regard to the latter, if people are booted from employer-based plans, where are they to go? The public option, after all, is at least nominally off the table. And if the answer from Max Baucus and his liberal flunkies is that they’ll go to a federally-funded, federally-operated, not-for-profit health care co-op, then there is essentially no difference between the Baucus co-op scenario and the public option scenario — both would push private insurers out of the marketplace, and America and the American people would eventually be in a position where we’re looking at a single-payer system of some form.

And we shouldn’t forget — that’s exactly what the Democrats and the president have wanted for a long, long time.

Does the health care system in America need reform? Absolutely. But it should be reform through the facilitation of the free market. Open up coverage options to interstate competition. Reduce frivolous lawsuits to drive down costs. Do everything we can to foster competition among private entities that all play by the same rules, that all have to show at least moderate profits for shareholders.

We can even harness the free market to ensure that every American is provided catastrophic coverage. Whether it is with a fund stocked with money from private insurers, whether it is facilitated by charitable organizations or whether it comes from even a small government fund, it would not compete with and drive out private insurers, it would provide catastrophic coverage to every American, and it would cost far less than $82 billion per year.

Today’s report from the CBO will embolden Democrats. As Americans concerned about the burdens to be shouldered by our children and our children’s children, we need to make sure that the numbers are placed in perspective.

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Judge Napolitano reiterated the Supreme Courts stance that any benefit offered to the 'persons' of the United States as a whole applies to anybody within its borders, legal, or illegal, no matter their origin of birth. Enjoy your new health insurance illegals, you law breaking scum.

  2. William A. Rose says:

    Ther is only one way I can think of to fix this: Vote them all out in one comprehensive sweep. Better yet, vote in folks that have little to no experience in mainstream politics. Perhaps those best suited might well be retired military (both from the officer and enlisted ranks).

    If we keep on keeping on status quo, we will continue to have the same results.

    It's difficult to find people that are actually honest to a fault. Truthful. Integrity and honor beyond reproach. Without such people as our leaders, we are doomed.

    America has changed into something I certainly don't recognize, and the change has only just begun. Time to put on your seatbelts folks, if you haven't already. We are in for an E-ticket ride.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Read this from: http://www.redstate.com/erick/2009/10/07/breaking-senate-gop-folding-over-health-care-reform/

    BREAKING: Senate GOP Folding Over Health Care Reform

    I am told quite reliably that in a meeting today on Capitol Hill, Republican Senators began to rapidly move toward concessions on health care because they are afraid they cannot hold their members. Some Republicans are now thinking of supporting a government program.

    Go to the action center and start calling.

  4. Anonymous says:

    How is this encouragement? I think any amount is paralyzing in our economy, especially something in the billions!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Off topic…. NASA to bomb the moon!
    http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=3906861&cl=15962759&ch=4226722&src=news

    Anybody know if those orbiters will be able to photograph and prove existence of former manned moon landings?

  6. Anonymous says:

    I remember a while back after the CBO report came through (it was not a plus for universal healthcare) and the chairman (or whatever he is)of the CBO was called to the Obama Whitehouse…does anyone remember that meeting, or does my memory fail me? Hmmmm…

  7. Bodenzee says:

    Off topic, but important.

    Judge Carter denied Obama's Motion to Dismiss and finalized the schedule for Obama's trial. Article 1, section 1 of our Constitution may be alive and well!
    =====
    UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

    CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

    CIVIL MINUTES – GENERAL

    CV-90 (12/02)

    CIVIL MINUTES – GENERAL Page 1 of 1

    Case No. SACV09-0082 DOC (ANx) Date October 5, 2009

    Title CAPTAIN PAMELA BARNETT, ET AL. V. BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA, ET AL.

    Present: The Honorable David O. Carter, U.S. District Judge

    Kristee Hopkins Debbie Gale N/A
    Deputy Clerk Court Reporter / Recorder Tape No.

    Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants:

    Orly Taitz
    Gary Kreep
    David DeJute, AUSA
    Roger West, AUSA

    Proceedings: 1. MOTION BY EFENDANTS TO DISMISS CASE
    2. SCHEDULING CONFERENCE

    Cause called and counsel state their appearances. Argument by counsel. Motion taken under submission.

    On September 8, 2009, the Court previously set tentative case management dates. The Court now orders those dates be made final.

    Case Management dates are as follows:

    Motion for Summary Judgment Hearing December 7, 2009, at 8:30 a.m.

    File Motion for Summary Judgment November 16, 2009

    Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment November 26, 2009

    Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment November 30, 2009

    Final Pretrial Conference January 11, 2010, at 8:30 a.m.

    Jury Trial January 26, 2010, at 8:30 a.m.

    3

    : 21

    01

    Initials of Preparer kh

  8. Anonymous says:

    Jeff,

    If the worst possible bill passes, and it doesn't take affect until 2013, is it possible to undo it by voting out these clowns in 2010 and 2012?

  9. Teri~Facedown says:

    Jeff,
    Just a short comment to tell you how much I appreciate the hard work you put into this blog. It is a must read for me and I stop by several times a day, but rarely leave a comment.

    You are a true source of inspiration on many levels. #1. You are a formal liberal–it gives me hope for the many liberals in my life!
    #2. You are dealing with an extreme amount of pressure from work, school, and regular life responsibilities–you handle it all plus making us, your readers, a priority.
    #3. While you have all of these things going on in your life, your love for your wife and daughter shines so wonderfully!

    Take the time you need for your main priorities…we'll still be here when your time frees up…and really, no apologies for making the main thing the main thing!

    Take care,
    Teri

  10. Anonymous says:

    you have equity with us, Jeff.
    we appreciate what you do and understand you are doing so with a triple load to boot.

    family matters, and other priorities are a given… and you are kind enough to drop us a note of your busy time… thats a kind thing to do.

    peace be with you.

  11. Anonymous says:

    How do you overspend billions and still save money?
    Just get the CBO to say so.

  12. Anonymous says:

    as Steve Moore of wallSt.Journal said "massive entitlement wont cast anything?"

    how can these democrats just sit by and create this huge injustice? i find it offensive that these people konw better but not a one speaks up or objects just for the sake of "party."

  13. Anonymous says:

    because they are afraid they cannot hold their members
    ==================

    sounds like propaganda to me but the argument seems weak.. why be "afraid" of holdig your numbers. that is not what this is all about. you stand for what you stand for. PERIOD.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I am a Huckabee supporter, and it seems someone at the Chicago Daily Observer finally sees things from my perspective . Great article.. It Just May Be Huckabee's Time

    http://www.cdobs.com/archive/syndicated/thought-while-shaving-it-just-may-be-huckabees-time,73734

  15. Anonymous says:

    I hope everyone here will forgive me but I cannot resist telling a very old joke that fits the Obama/ CBO and Democratic congress LIES about saving $500 Billion dollars from MEDICARE/MEDICAID AFTER they GET Universal Healthcare passed!! 'There are two people lost in the desert and they each have one more mouthful of water in a canteen. The person holding the canteen says to the other ok I'll go 'first' and I'll let you have the rest, whereas the person holding the canteen drinks ALL the water and then gives it to the other who says 'where's my water???' OOPs says the first person MINE was on the bottom!! As you and others have said The day they save %500 Billion from Medicare FRAUD over 10 years won't happen and the rest of us will either lose our coverage because we cannot pay the $121 billion dollars the Insurance co's must pass on to us (or they go bankrupt)or the miscalculations, just like medicare today are will be Trillions of $$ below the real cost and if they also pay doctors @ the rates Medicare/Medicaid gets (63%of what they need to 'make a profit' + cap and trade it will bankrupt AMERICA Note: The US dollar just hit a new low yesterday and many countries already want to replace the dollar even Before Health care is passed!!! Obama doesn't care as long as he get universal health care for the 'poor'!! Also it will NEVER be reversed after passage unless a NEW CONGRESS and President are elected(2010/2012)that has the guts to REVERSE IT-like that's going to happen!
    Anyone still thinking Obama is not a socialist is NUTS!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    not only is it about control it is about stuffing taxpayers' money into the pockets of his friends, and special interests.

    you see while we are waiting for 2013 there will be many reasons to PAY OUT MONEY from that budget to "THOSE prepareing this, and testing that, and setting this up…"

    obama's ACORN mentality of draining every single cent you can from government "because they have money" is in overdrive. it is the bill ayers, rathke, alinsky mentality to GET GRANTS ANY WHICH WAY POSSIBLE… FREE MONEY… FREE MONEY… and the reason hes working all these plans at rapid speed is because he's stashing money before he's either impeached or declared ineligible to be president.

    by the time we get around to doing what we should have done BEFORE even allowing him on the ballot, he will have drained every single penny he can from the U.S. Government.

    for example what do you wnat to bet that Rathke travelling around the world will not end up doing business with governments where obama has needlessly sent money? i guarantee you rathke is not out there traveling for his health.

    i have come to believe the worse about obama. i always had my doubts but not the way i feel now and i strongly do not trust obama. if he is ever declared a usurper, the Justice system shouldnt give him an inch! i'd follow and watch him even if he had to brush his teeth!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Here are 8 points of
    contradictions to the present Health care bill in an 7 OCT. email I just received.

    http://newt.org/tabid/102/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/4574/Will-President-Obama-Veto-Health-Reform.aspx

  18. Anonymous says:

    off topic but has anyone come up with a good reason obama waited 13 days before addressing the gang-murder situation in chicago?

    and as much as he likes to jet here and there at the drop of a hat why where was he?

    when he FINALLY sent someone it wasnt Michelle who is FROM chicago but someone else? what
    s that all about?

    its as if they couldnt care less.

  19. Anonymous says:

    and getting our house ready to go on the market (anybody want it?).
    ======================

    trying to get yourself into more hot water? havent you learned anything when you overstepped the YARD SALE CZAR. now i ask you, HAVE YOU CLEARED THIS WITH THE REAL ESTATE CZAR YET????

    ps. given any thought about putting a pictue of it up. you never know yu just might strike a deal among readers who live in that State… it could happen :-)

    try it.
    g'luck.

  20. Anonymous says:

    hannity calls it UNIVERSAL NIGHTMARE.
    -=-=- works for me -=-=-

  21. Anonymous says:

    "when it came to Medicare, Congress predicted $12 billion, and reality was $107. What can we expect with a projected cost of $82.9 billion per year (if it were evenly split)?

    Consider another question — when has the American federal government ever slashed the costs associated with any government program?"
    (… medicare from 12Billion to 107Billion… yikes)
    =========================

    such are the things the ordinary man rarely gets his teeth into but these ARE the things we elect our representatives to consider. and i honestly wonder if they are taking their jobs seriously, especially now.

    when i hear congress, senate didnt read a Bill it irks me. they suddenly seem to equate themselves with the people who put them in office…. IT IS THEIR JOB to read and interpret the Bills before them with help if needed. if its 2,000 pages then its two thousand pages they need to read and comprehend. if this is hard then this is not the job for them. the guy flipping burgers elected him/her to do just that.

    looking at your observations in print i understand Wilson's YOU LIE-frustration – not agree with it but understand how someone can become so frustrated at what is actually being done while they hope no one notices or cares enough about until it's too late to correct it simply irks me.

  22. Anonymous says:

    No American Should be Jailed or Fined $25,000 Because They Cannot Afford Government-Mandated Health Coverage
    Shadegg: “President Obama and the Nancy Pelosi Democrats claim to be protecting the ‘little guy.’ Nothing could be further from the truth.”
    http://johnshadegg.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=148560

  23. Anonymous says:

    the more we read this Bill now known as elSTINKO the stronger the stench.

  24. David Crandall says:

    First things first. There is currently NO discussion about 'Health Care' in this country, and how to fix it. The discussion is all about PAYING for it, and 'fixing' the payment options – and the ONLY option being talked about is INSURANCE, whether mandatory, government regulated, single-payer INSURANCE – not about Health Care itself.

    OK – have we now got that squared away.

    There are three major, intimately intertwined problems CAUSING high health care costs in this country.

    1. INSURANCE – both health insurance and medical malpractice insurance.

    2. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REGULATION – requiring the provision of 'health care' to all – whether they can pay for it or not, whether they are legally in this country or not.

    3. THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM – State AND Federal – this includes the tort lawyers AND THE COURTS.

    Get all three of these entities completely out of the 'health care business' – prohibit their involvement in 'health care' in this country – and you WILL see health care costs become reasonable – reasonable enough that people will be able to go back to the only responsible method of getting health care – doing it ourselves, and paying for it ourselves.

    What about the poor, the unfortunate, the …

    Excuse – the Constitution of the United States does not allow charity work to be done by the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT – and it is not a good idea for state or local governments either.

    The Catholic Church hospitals, the Lutheran hospitals, the Shriners, and on and on – managed for DECADES to provide quality, affordable HEALTH BENEFITS to many people.

    Insurance Companies, For-Profit Hospital Corporations – in collusion with insurance companies and the government – ALL THE GREED and removal of individual responsibility is what has caused this problem.

    GET THE FREAKING THIEVING VARMITS out of the 'health care' system – and you will find the HEART and SOUL of this country takes damn good care of their fellow human beings – at reasonable costs, with TRUE compassion and altruism.

    So – REPUBLICANS – quit telling me about how the 'system is broken' and the 'government' needs to fix it – just not the way the Democrats want to 'fix' (read 'neuter') the system.

    GET THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF IT – The legislators, the courts, the attorneys, and the legalized gambling casinos known as 'Insurance'.

    NEED PROOF ?

    What was THE SINGLE LARGEST FAILURE, and MOST COSTLY in the 'stimulus packages.'

    Try AIG.

    QED

  25. Rix says:

    Torch-and-pitchfork time, folks. Either that, or bend over for the New World Order to be built on your backs. Anybody with half a mind who ever treated their dog for worms should eventually ask a question why two-legged parasites must be treated better than legless ones.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous, October 7, 2009 11:50 PM – 13 days because 1. this is really nothing new to Chicago (especially this year) 2. It was a black on black crime. (I am not racist, just facts) 3. The liberal "plans" have been throwing money at this problem for years and it doesn't help. Now they want more FEDERAL dollars to throw at it.

  27. DO NOT PASS GO says:

    Spend a trillion, saving 81 billion, what a great way to lose Monopoly.

  28. Amy says:

    I think one reason the CBO's analysis is far more favorable than it should be is the fact that the plan won't be implemented until 2013 but we'll start paying taxes for it right away. So, they're adding costs up for 7 years while the taxes to pay for that 7 years come from 10 years of taxes.

  29. Lilly says:
  30. Still a Patriot says:

    Hi Jeff -

    I'm also wondering about that closed door meeting between Obama & the head of the CBO. I'm picturing a scene from The Godfather…

    Bodenzee – There is a great interview with Captain Barnett on thepostnemail.wordpress.com

    Susan

  31. Jan says:

    What about the states that are considering lawsuits against the federal gov? They say that constitutionally the federal gov does not have the right to force individuals to purchase insurance -that should be left up to the individual states. Any thoughts?

  32. Bodenzee says:

    Jan,

    My opinion is that the 9th, and more importantly the 10th amendments make it ptretty clear that there is no Constitutional basis for the Federal Government to provide, or force health insurance. Similarly there should not be a Department of Education, or a Department of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and others.

    But, for several decades our Congress has lost sight of our Constitution…it gets in their way.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Bodenzee is right. Hmmmmmm, wasn't the Civil War really about states rights?

  34. Amy says:

    I just hope this bill helps us all, we all need it.

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