Last night I posted a comment on the fiscal falsehoods of Obamacare pushers in the House. Now, a column by Jack Kelly at Real Clear Politics, illuminates how this corruption of democracy works. It involves the Baucus Bill. That plan came in under $900 billion over ten years through pretense. From the column:
Mr. Baucus achieved his apparent savings partly by omitting the “public option” dear to liberal hearts, partly by not covering all of the currently uninsured. But he achieved them mostly by front-loading tax increases and cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, but delaying most spending increases for two and a half years. Once the spending increases went into effect, they rapidly would overwhelm the “savings.” By the 11th year, the Baucus bill would add massively to the deficit. [Me: Really the 8th since it would not go into effect until 2013.]
There was a problem with this gimmick, though. Mr. Baucus proposed to save money in Medicare by gutting the Medicare Advantage program, in which 23 percent of seniors are enrolled, and by slashing the payments doctors and hospitals receive for treating Medicare patients. Medicare currently reimburses doctors only 94 cents for each dollar of health-care services provided. To slash payments another 21.5 percent, as Mr. Baucus proposed, would not be popular with doctors. And if payments were slashed, many doctors who now treat Medicare patients would stop seeing them, which would not be popular with Medicare patients.
To fix this problem, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., proposed to block the Medicare reimbursement cuts for 10 years. The logical thing to do would have been to offer the Stabenow proposal as an amendment to the Baucus bill. But if that were done, the cost of the Baucus bill would rise by $247 billion over 10 years, according to the CBO. Democrats could no longer claim it was deficit neutral. To Mr. Reid, the solution was to offer the Stabenow measure as a separate bill and pretend it had nothing to do with the Obamacare plan. But last Wednesday, 13 Democrats joined all the Republicans in opposing this fiscal sleight of hand.
Thus are the games our leaders in Congress play, which is why our Congress is so distrusted by the American people. Good for most of the sensators for shooting this one down. If we are going to have Obamacare, we have the right to know what it will really cost—at least what it will really cost before the inevitable huge increases in cost that accompany almost any government program or plan.
We launched the First Things 2023 Year-End Campaign to keep articles like the one you just read free of charge to everyone.
Measured in dollars and cents, this doesn't make sense. But consider who is able to read First Things: pastors and priests, college students and professors, young professionals and families. Last year, we had more than three million unique readers on firstthings.com.
Informing and inspiring these people is why First Things doesn't only think in terms of dollars and cents. And it's why we urgently need your year-end support.
Will you give today?