New York Times columnist David Brooks, like other columnists at that staunchly liberal newspaper, supported Obama in the 2008 election. But even he can now see that Obama’s health care plan is full of dishonest gimmicks that hide its enormous cost and the fact that it will drive up the deficit and health-care costs:
They’ve stuffed the legislation with gimmicks and dodges designed to get a good score from the Congressional Budget Office but don’t genuinely control runaway spending.
There is the doc fix dodge. The legislation pretends that Congress is about to cut Medicare reimbursements by 21 percent. Everyone knows that will never happen, so over the next decade actual spending will be $300 billion higher than paper projections.
There is the long-term care dodge. The bill creates a $72 billion trust fund to pay for a new long-term care program. The sponsors count that money as cost-saving, even though it will eventually be paid back out when the program comes on line.
There is the subsidy dodge. Workers making $60,000 and in the health exchanges would receive $4,500 more in subsidies in 2016 than workers making $60,000 and not in the exchanges. There is no way future Congresses will allow that disparity to persist. Soon, everybody will get the subsidy.
There is the excise tax dodge. The primary cost-control mechanism and long-term revenue source for the program is the tax on high-cost plans. But Democrats aren’t willing to levy this tax for eight years. The fiscal sustainability of the whole bill rests on the naïve hope that a future Congress will have the guts to accept a trillion-dollar tax when the current Congress wouldn’t accept an increase of a few billion.
There is the 10-6 dodge. One of the reasons the bill appears deficit-neutral in the first decade is that it begins collecting revenue right away but doesn’t have to pay for most benefits until 2014. That’s 10 years of revenues to pay for 6 years of benefits, something unlikely to happen again unless the country agrees to go without health care for four years every decade.
There is the Social Security dodge. The bill uses $52 billion in higher Social Security taxes to pay for health care expansion. But if Social Security taxes pay for health care, what pays for Social Security?
Earlier, health care cost expert James C. Capretta explained how “Obamacare Is A Budgetary Disaster” that will cost at least $1.4 trillion more than promised.
The Congressional Budget Office, which refused to question Obama’s gimmicks to lowball the cost of his health care plan, nevertheless admits that “President Obama’s policies would add more than $9.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade.”
There are $3,000,000,000,000 in tax increases in Obama’s budget. But he’s spending money at such a furious pace that the deficit will skyrocket anyway: “The president’s budget would borrow 42 cents for each dollar spent in 2010,” and “double the national debt over the next decade.”
Obama’s healthcare plan will further increase deficits, as even Democrats have admitted. ObamaCare would reduce medical innovation, raise taxes, drive up insurance premiums, break campaign promises, and increase state deficits. It would cut the quality of care, while imposing restrictions that failed when tried at the state level. It ignores advice from experts about how to cut costs.
Obama recently ran up the largest budget deficit in history, by a huge margin.