Democrats lie about healthcare costs

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 4:01pm
By: Letters to the ...

As House Democrats voted on their healthcare overhaul this month, they should have also voted to abolish the Congressional Budget Office, too. It would have been much more honest than their current strategy for hiding the true cost of their legislation.

Never mind the everyday budget gimmicks House Democrats have used, such as removing $250 billion of deficit spending to be voted on separately. Or claiming their bill would cost just $894 billion, around $400 billion less than the CBO actually projected.

The current leadership has rigged the legislation so that 60 percent of its total cost will not be made public by the CBO in advance of the House vote. Here’s how they did it.

The centerpiece of the bill currently under consideration is not the “public option,” but the “individual mandate” — a legal requirement that all U.S. residents purchase health insurance, on penalty of fines and/or imprisonment.

The CBO describes an individual mandate as “an unprecedented form of federal action” whose closest analogue in federal law is the draft.

But as President Obama told a joint session of Congress, the rest of the legislation won’t work unless the federal government forces Americans to purchase health insurance.

When Bill Clinton tried this same idea, the CBO revealed to the public the full cost of Clinton’s health plan. Clinton’s secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala, called the CBO’s decision “devastating.”

Rather than admit the individual mandate’s unpopularity and move on, congressional Democrats simply ensured that its costs would not appear in the federal budget this time around by gaming the CBO’s rule for what constitutes “federal revenues.”

Obama Budget Director Peter Orszag laid the groundwork for this feat. While director of the CBO in 2007 and 2008, he fostered a more collaborative relationship between the CBO and members of Congress, which enabled the agency to provide behind-the-scenes guidance to Democrats crafting their mandate.

That’s why the cost of the Democrats’ individual mandates appears nowhere in the half-dozen or more “preliminary cost estimates” the CBO has completed on various Democratic health-care bills.

The CBO exists to bring honest accounting to the federal government. House Democrats are gaming the CBO, subverting this purpose. Anyone who cares about honest accounting or transparency in government would have put the brakes on this vote until the American people have all the facts.

Since it was rammed through after 10 p.m. on Saturday, you now know how much all the smiling faces in Washington think of you.

Dave Edinger

Peachtree City, Ga.

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Submitted by Cyclist on Tue, 11/17/2009 - 5:55pm.

on the US Senate.
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

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