Wednesday, July 01, 2009

QOTD

Michael Leavitt, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2005-09, and Jeffrey Anderson, in the June 23rd Washington Times:
Because he doesn't support a "single-payer" system, the president implies he doesn't support "government-run health care." But if, through payment policies, the government decides what doctors we use, what drugs we can take, and how much is charged, the system is government-run. So we can agree that Mr. Obama technically isn't supporting a single-payer system. But he is supporting a government-run system that may well lead to a single payer.

Mr. Obama says that the "public option" would merely provide Americans with a new choice for health insurance: "If you like what you're getting, keep it. Nobody is forcing you to shift." In truth, however, millions of employers would choose the "public option" -- for their employees.

Given a choice between accepting the cost, risk and burden of continuing to provide insurance, or having the government take over that responsibility, millions of employers would bolt. And anyone who believes a public option plan wouldn't become a tax-subsidized plan hasn't been watching very closely for the past 50 years.

The president says his proposal will be "deficit-neutral in the next decade." Given its projected cost of $1.5 trillion over that decade - an amount greater than the annual gross domestic product (GDP) of Canada -- this is quite a claim.

Keep in mind that we're already running higher deficits -- even as a percentage of GDP -- than during the Great Depression. Only 55 percent of 2009 federal spending ($2.2 of $4.0 trillion) comes from tax revenue; the rest is borrowed money. Yet the creation of a massive new Medicare-like program won't increase deficits?

The president says this unlikely result will be made possible through miscellaneous tax increases and Medicare spending reductions, but he never specifies the cuts. As secretary of health and human services, I took a budget to Capitol Hill containing half the reductions the president says Congress must make, and I was politically stoned by those in his party and many in mine. With all due respect, Mr. President, name the cuts. Show us the money.

Most of Mr. Obama's claims would be impossible to believe even if there weren't such a clear track record to support disbelief. In the 1960s, President Johnson and the Democratic Congress both projected that Medicare would cost $12 billion in 1990. Its actual cost was $111 billion - 9 times the original estimate. The Medicare Hospital Trust Fund is now projected to become insolvent in 2016, three years earlier than last year's estimate.
BTW, at his June 23rd press conference, President Obama conceded that his plan would encourage flight from private insurance to a public-run plan, says ABC's Jake Tapper.

(via The Corner)

3 comments:

OBloodyHell said...

> Most of Mr. Obama's claims would be impossible to believe even if there weren't such a clear track record to support disbelief. In the 1960s, President Johnson and the Democratic Congress both projected that Medicare would cost $12 billion in 1990. Its actual cost was $111 billion - 9 times the original estimate.

True, but the original 1990 estimate was in Obama New Dollars.

You know, the ones that get implemented after Obama inflates the currently existing ones out of existence, a la The Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe.

The Johnson Admin was purportedly psychic, and like to be prepared...

/snark off

Carl said...

OBH:

Lacking psychic powers, looking ahead eight years isn't hard--even the New York Times can do it.

OBloodyHell said...

Ah, but this was a projection by LBJ's admin...


:oD

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