As events continue to unfold while the health insurance reform bill comes either to a vote or a train wreck (or both), I want to hit on a few main reasons why I’m against the Democrats’ idea of "reform".  Today, it’s the money.

Obama has said that whatever he signs must be either deficit-neutral or indeed reduce it, and the claims are that this bill will do just that.  In fact, it’s one of the reasons Democrats say that using reconciliation — typically used for deficit reduction — is appropriate.  They point to the CBO numbers for the bill as coming in under $1 trillion for the first 10 years, while generating savings that would go beyond that.

But here’s the thing. 

First of all, they’re gaming the CBO system.  By putting off any real serious spending for 4 years or so, while collecting taxes in anticipation of the spending, the real cost of the program is hidden.  To find the real estimates, click here to hear Democratic Senator Max Baucus give a better number for it; $2.5 trillion.  The difference?  In his words; if you start counting from the year 2014.  Knowing that the CBO rules only look 10 years out from bill passage, Democrats have crafted the timetable to favor a low CBO number, and they trumpet this fake number on the talk shows.  At least we have Senate video to show that they do know better, but they’re just hoping their constituents aren’t paying attention (which it looks like they aren’t).

Second of all, government programs virtually always cost more than original estimates, whether this is because the first estimates were faulty or gamed, or whether folks like the giveaways so much they ask for more, or whether politicians buy votes by increasing benefits.  The "experts" who were estimating the cost of Medicare back in 1966 — when it cost $3 billion — said that by 1990 it would cost $12 billion, allowing for inflation.  Instead they were off by almost 9 times; it was $107 billion.  And in 2007, it was costing us $431 billion.  For just 1 year.  Even after cost cutting measure like reducing payments to doctors, which then causes some doctors to leave the Medicare market.  (Follow the link for other medical cost underestimating.)

So in order to get this past the American people, Democrats are massaging the data to fit the narrative, while knowing full well (if they have any knowledge of history at all) that they are low-balling by an order of magnitude or more. 

It’s not just the cost estimates; it’s the disingenuousness and outright lying that is going on that should give any supporter pause as to what it is they’ve bought into.

Filed under: EconomicsGovernmentMedicine

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