Democrats have laughingly suggested we will lower costs, increase services and ensure everyone is covered all while spending less and not increasing adding to yearly deficits or the debt. Pipe dreams may come true, but the New York Times tells us about the real math in an Op Ed piece … and conveniently buries it.
Could this really be true? How can the budget office give a green light to a bill that commits the federal government to spending nearly $1 trillion more over the next 10 years?
The answer, unfortunately, is that the budget office is required to take written legislation at face value and not second-guess the plausibility of what it is handed. So fantasy in, fantasy out.
In reality, if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games and rework the calculus, a wholly different picture emerges: The health care reform legislation would raise, not lower, federal deficits, by $562 billion.
Gimmick No. 1 is the way the bill front-loads revenues and backloads spending. That is, the taxes and fees it calls for are set to begin immediately, but its new subsidies would be deferred so that the first 10 years of revenue would be used to pay for only 6 years of spending.
Even worse, some costs are left out entirely. To operate the new programs over the first 10 years, future Congresses would need to vote for $114 billion in additional annual spending. But this so-called discretionary spending is excluded from the Congressional Budget Office’s tabulation.
Consider, too, the fate of the $70 billion in premiums expected to be raised in the first 10 years for the legislation’s new long-term health care insurance program. This money is counted as deficit reduction, but the benefits it is intended to finance are assumed not to materialize in the first 10 years, so they appear nowhere in the cost of the legislation.
Read the full op Ed piece by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was director of the CBO from 2003 to 2005, that originally …
… appeared in print on March 21, 2010, on page WK12 of the New York edition.
I agree with Gilbert at Sweetness & Light. WK12 of the New York edition of the paper is totally buried. Maybe their “real” reporters would care to dig into the numbers and explain the math in a “real” news story?
Don’t hold your breath.