Health Care Reform Doesn’t Add UpMarch 22nd, 2010 by Lee Eldridge
Do you want to know what drives me crazy about our federal government? Well, lots of things drive me crazy. But in light of the passage of Obama-Care last night, simple mathematics just never add up in Washington.
I drive a ’96 pickup truck. Some day it will need to be replaced. We’re hoping that it lasts long enough so that we have our car paid off by the time we have to replace the truck. But what if my truck dies next week? It would be difficult for us to be a one car family. And it will be very difficult for us to add a second car payment to our budget. Decisions will have to be made. What else can we cut from our budget? What are our opportunities to increase our income?
If this particular health care reform bill is so vital to the future of our country, doesn’t that in turn mean that it’s MORE important than other items currently in the budget?
According to the U.S. Treasury, here’s where we spent our federal tax money in 2009.
Department of Agriculture: $114 billion
Department of Commerce: $11 billion
Department of Defense: $637 billion
Department of Education: $53 billion
Department of Energy: $24 billion
Department of Health and Human Services: $796 billion
Department of Homeland Security: $52 billion
This is just a partial overview, but you get the picture. (Data provided by the U.S. Treasury.) We really couldn’t come up with a few cuts elsewhere to help pay for health care reform?
Fuzzy Math 101
Now back to my original point. I guess it’s important to understand that supporters of this legislation don’t care what it costs. Explaining to them that the math doesn’t add up falls on deaf ears. They point to the recent report released by the CBO and say “See, this will reduce the deficit.” Well, the CBO report doesn’t tell the whole picture. And this bill will not reduce the deficit.
1. The CBO was told that we’ll cut $500 billion from Medicare. The CBO doesn’t take into account how, or if, it will actually happen. All they take into account is that they’re told that we will cut $500 billion from Medicare to help pay for health care reform.
So how will we do it? I don’t know. And obviously the government doesn’t know either. They plan to put a panel in place to make these decisions later.
So what happens if they don’t find $500 billion in cuts? Well, nothing happens. The bill has already become law. Who is going to track this and hold Obama / Pelosi / Reid accountable in 2020 if we don’t really cut $500 billion from Medicare?
With millions of baby boomers soon to flood Medicare, there’s not a chance that we’ll actually be able to cut $500 billion from Medicare.
2. The CBO was told that we’d raise another $500 billion through tax increases. The CBO doesn’t take into account how, or if, it will actually happen. All they take into account is that they’re told that we will provide an additional $500 billion through taxes.
So how will we do it? I don’t know. And obviously the government doesn’t know either, as many of the tax increases that will be needed to reach $500 billion do not exist yet. This puts the burden on future congresspeople to pass new tax increases to cover health care reform.
So what happens if they don’t raise $500 billion in new taxes? Well, nothing happens. The bill has already become law. Who is going to track this and hold Obama / Pelosi / Reid accountable in 2020 if we don’t really raise $500 billion in new taxes?
3. What about the expansion of Medicaid that will be required to fulfill the requirements of this bill? Well the CBO doesn’t care about that either. Much of this expense will be picked up by the states who implement Medicaid. Where will this money come from? Out of the state’s budget. That doesn’t factor into the CBO’s findings, or their cost analysis of health care reform.
Kansas is already going through a significant financial crisis, as are most states. Obama has pledged to help the states. With what money? Oh don’t worry, we’ll figure that out later. That doesn’t need to be included when determining the costs of the bill.
4. Last night the House of Representatives made some “reconciliations” to the Senate bill that was passed by the House. My understanding is that one of the components in the reconciliation bill deals with increasing payments to doctors through Medicare compared to the Senate’s bill, thus increasing the expense of the bill. When asked about the increased cost, Congressman Barney Frank replied “We’ll pay for that later.” So once again, more expenses that are not covered in the CBO’s analysis.
5. One component of this bill is that it mandates that Americans purchase health insurance. Who will enforce this? Well the IRS will enforce it. And it has been estimated that the IRS will need to add more than 16,000 employees in order to manage their new responsibilities. Who will pay for this? We will. Did the CBO factor this into their cost analysis? Nope.
This legislation is not budget neutral as we’ve been told repeatedly by supporters. It will cost us a lot of money.
Tags: Health Care