01.31.2010 0

Editorial: “New-and-Improved ObamaCare!”

  • On: 02/23/2010 09:34:16
  • In: Health Care
  • Yesterday, Barack Obama unveiled his latest, “new-and-improved” version of ObamaCare. Sadly for the American people, it’s more of the same. According to the New York Times, the Obama proposal “sticks largely to the version passed by the Senate in December.” This is therefore the same proposal that 58 percent of voters overwhelmingly oppose, as reported by Rasmussen Reports. A full 61 percent want Congress to simply start over.

    As well they should. As Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson commented yesterday, “This is pretty much the same government-run health care proposal that the American people have already rejected.” Indeed.

    According to the Times, the White House claims the plan will cost some $950 billion atop the already swelling entitlement burden that cost $1.441 trillion in 2010 alone. It also proposes extending taxpayer-subsidized coverage to some 31 million Americans.

    Unfortunately, the proposal was so vague, the Congressional Budget Office cannot even grade it properly. Writes CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf: “preparing a cost estimate requires very detailed specifications of numerous provisions, and the materials that were released this morning do not provide sufficient detail on all of the provisions.”

    Rest assured, if this latest abomination is anything like the Senate version, as is reported, the true cost will be more like $2.5 trillion over ten years once fully implemented, as Senate Republicans have claimed of the bill they opposed in the Senate.

    And, lest anyone doubt the veracity of that figure, such as Senator Al Franken or Talking Points Memo, just check with the Congressional Budget Office, as reported by the Weekly Standard in December: “The Democrats are irresponsibly and disingenuously claiming that the bill would cost $871 billion over 10 years. But that’s not what the CBO says. Rather, the CBO says that $871 billion would be the costs from 2010 to 2019 for expansions in insurance coverage alone. But less than 2 percent of those ‘10-year costs’ would kick in before the fifth year of that span. In its real first 10 years (2014 to 2023), the CBO says that the bill would cost $1.8 trillion — for insurance coverage expansions alone. Other parts of the bill would cost approximately $700 billion more, bringing the bill’s full 10-year tab to approximately $2.5 trillion — according to the CBO.”

    Even Senator Max Baucus admitted that the bill would cost $2.5 trillion when he said, “health care reform, whether you use a ten-year number or when you start in 2010 or start in 2014, wherever you start at, so it is still either $1 trillion or it’s $2.5 Trillion, depending on where you start…”

    Although the White House in one breath claims the bill will be “deficit-neutral,” it is forced to admit that it will indeed be funded by taxpayers: “Millions of families will receive hundreds of billions of dollars in tax credits to help them pay for insurance in the new exchanges… The Act also provides financial assistance to reduce out-of-pocket costs for moderate and low-income eligible Americans.” Those are direct subsidies for health benefits; to call them tax credits is like calling Medicare or welfare a tax credit.

    Obama’s claim to deficit-neutrality depends on the critical $483 billion in ten-year cuts to Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid. But, a $210 billion “doc-fix” bill — kept apart from ObamaCare — that passed the House in November restores a good portion of those cuts, as reported by FOX News.

    This is where the rationing comes in. As the government’s unfunded health care liabilities become increasingly unsustainable over the next several years, the growing costs of providing health benefits for everyone will assuredly eat into the benefits of providing coverage to seniors and the poor.

    The greater the insurance pool, the more costly the “doc-fixes” and other subsidies will be in the future, and the less benefits there will be to go around.

    This is therefore a bill that will ultimately ration care away from seniors, lower the quality of medical treatment, increase premiums, drive the American people off of their private health options and onto government-run ObamaCare, and bankrupt the Treasury with unsustainable costs. And one that Congressional Democrats intend to pass by simply eliminating the filibuster and weakening the nation’s two-party system, as ALG News has previously reported.

    If one needed any more proof of the phoniness of this White House, look no further than February 25th’s health care summit, where Obama hopes to create a theater of bipartisanship, all the while hocking the same old, wretched Congressional bill that barely survived the town halls.

    Of course, it’s a theater of the absurd. And the meeting is a stage for Obama to pretend that it is not. The bill is to be rammed through regardless of the summit; with or without Republican support. This “new-and-improved” proposal, its much ballyhooed summit, and the pretense of honest, faithful negotiations have more in common with a reprehensible, Orwellian, Third World banana republic than a fully mature citizen republic. This is not change, it is a fraud.

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