Promise #7: Health care reform won’t add "a single dime" to the deficit--and will actually cut it.
Remember that unambiguous, crystal-clear presidential promise from item number six? Here’s another one, delivered to a joint session of Congress and a nationally televised audience: "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits -- either now or in the future. (Applause.) I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period."
Right-wing paranoiacs really didn’t believe this one, but the Democrats had an ace in the hole. Leading up the vote--voila!--Pelosi & Co engineered a final CBO score that magically validated the president’s famous words. Go crazy, America! Your massive new entitlement program will reduce the deficit by $130 Billion over ten years!
A number of Debbie Downers made valiant attempts to expose the folly. Former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin crunched the un-manipulated numbers for the New York Times and found that the "real arithmetic" was nowhere near deficit-reducing or -neutral. The truth: Obamacare would bloat the deficit by $563 Billion. The advertised ten-year price tag of $900+ Billion was risible. In reality it sat much closer to $2.5 Trillion, as the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Financial Services Committee inadvertently admitted.
So how did Democrats manage to gerry-rig the CBO’s scoring system to produce superficially solvent math? Rep. Paul Ryan meticulously decimated their "smoke and mirrors" gimmickry at the Blair House summit, thoroughly explaining to the president’s face precisely how his administration and party were misleading the country. . .
In fairness, here’s Obamacare proponent Ezra Klein’s rebuttal to Ryan, which is worth a read for a pretty frank but ultimately unconvincing defense of tricky government accounting. But even in rebutting Ryan, Klein concedes, "The 10-year cost of the bill is really only counting six years of operation. This was a deceptive effort to keep the bill’s price tag under $1 trillion, even as the bill’s price tag was really quite a bit more."
In short, the Democrats’ bogus score relied on:
(a) Double-counting unrealistic, never-gonna-happen Medicare cuts to the tune of $500 Billion.
(b) Pretending the $200B+ "Doc Fix" was a separate, unrelated issue--it has since passed the Senate. For those who think treating "doc fix" as an unrelated issue was fair, they may want to ponder why the expensive measure was included in an early version of the House bill until Democrats needed a better CBO score, at which point it was removed.
(c) Shoehorning 10 years’ of tax revenues into just six years of "benefits."
(d) Double-counting social security tax revenue.
(e) Totally ignoring billions in requisite "discretionary" spending for Obamacare’s implementation.
On the eve of the health care vote, a CBO letter to Rep. Paul Ryan confirmed that, without such gimmickry, the health care bill would add $260 billion over 10 years to instead of reducing it by $138. Both the CMS and the CBO have objected to the double-counting of Medicare savings as paying for Obamacare and shoring up Medicare, but the administration continues to use the misleading metric, even this week.
Passage of the "Doc Fix" alone, coupled with this little wrinkle, has already driven Obamacare into the red. Finally, the current director of CBO has decisively torpedoed the entire "cost savings" charade. Revisiting a previous devastating critique that nearly derailed the process in 2009, Elmendorf has concluded that Obamacare will not "bend the cost curve" of health care spending down.
Putting the federal budget on a sustainable path would almost certainly require a significant reduction in the growth of federal health spending relative to current law (including this year’s health legislation).
Too little, too late. It’s now the law of the land.
Bottom Line: The president’s bill won’t add a single dime to the deficit. It will pile trillions upon trillions of dimes atop an already mountainous debt.See also AllahPundit and Politico.
(via Legal Insurrection, reader Warren)