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Health-Care "Reform" Always Costs More Than Promised

When the government creates a new entitlement to health-care, it costs far more than predicted. That's the depressing truth told by former Congressman Tim Penny (D-MN) and former Senator Rudy Boschwitz (R-MN), casting doubt on whether the trillion-dollar price tag of Obama's health-care plan even begins to capture its colossal, budget-exploding cost. "ObamaCare plans to expand the government's role in insuring the American people," Penny and Boschwitz write. "The government is already the largest insurer in the health care business through Medicare." Medicare offers a cautionary tale, since it costs more than ten times what its sponsors predicted, and far more than they ever imagined, "an astounding increase of 85.5 times over the 40-year period." As they note, "Beware of government estimates about the future cost of ObamaCare. When Medicare was being considered in the mid-1960s, the government projected that the outlays for the program 25 years down the road would be $10 billion. Instead, in 1990, 25 years later, the outlays were $107 billion. Government estimates were off by a factor of more than 10! Medicaid, the other large medical program currently in effect, outdid Medicare. Medicaid outlays in 1968 were $1.8 billion. In 2007 they had risen to $190.6 billion, an increase in dollar terms of 105.9 times. And that is only the Federal outlay number. There is a roughly equal Medicaid amount spent by the states due to federal mandates. Without those mandates we would not be reading about the large deficits that most states endure. The idea of expanding the federal role in the medical arena is truly fiscally irresponsible. The claim that money will be saved through government competition with the private insurance system (with government setting the rules!) is the height of fantasy." Attempts to provide universal coverage have been much costly than expected at the state level. In Maine and Massachusetts, such efforts have left many people uncovered, while costing far more than anyone anticipated. One of Obama's own advisers says the Obama Administration's health-care plan will harm people with insurance while raising their taxes. CNN says Obamacare will take away 5 freedoms. It will also destroy many affordable health-care plans while breaking Obama's campaign promises. The health-care "reform" bills backed by the Administration perversely exempt illegal aliens from the health-insurance taxes and obligations imposed on citizens, effectively giving them preferential treatment, even as they fail to require verification of immigrations status for those seeking "public option" health-care coverage. While America's health-care system is very expensive, it is much better at treating and detecting common forms of cancer than most European health-care systems. The Administration's health-care proposals put these successes in jeopardy, yet they would increase health-care costs even further, while failing to provide health-care coverage as cheap or as universal as in Europe. For a recent example of how the Obama Administration underestimates the cost of federal programs, look at the Cash-for-Clunkers program, which was slated to cost a billion dollars for the entire year, but ended up running out of money after just days. The cash-for-clunkers program is monumentally wasteful and stupid, destroying perfectly good automobiles, cutting off the supply of cheap used cars needed by poor people, and rewarding people who bought gas guzzlers rather than fuel-efficient vehicles. It also provides surprisingly little benefit to the Detroit automakers that it was intended to bail out, who have already received more than $70 billion from taxpayers, and wipes out jobs at used-car and parts businesses. The auto bailouts keep expanding. Billions more will soon be spent on wealthy auto-dealers, politically-correct cars few people will buy, and generous benefits for high-paid autoworkers.