HCR fiscal fantasy


Former Staff
Jan 2007
If it’s true that you can torture the numbers until they confess, Amnesty International should look into the scoring of the health care bill. As The New York Times reported, “Whenever the budget office judged that some element or elements of the bill would cause a problem meeting the cost and deficit-reduction targets, Democrats just adjusted the underlying legislation to make sure it would hit their goal.â€

They did so using a variety of gimmicks, such as counting a decade’s worth of taxation to raise revenues to pay for the plan but counting only six years of benefits. The CBO says the cost over the first four years would be $17 billion. The last six would equal $923 billion, including $175 billion in 2019. If the latter number is the true annual cost of the program when fully implemented, obviously it’s going to cost a heck of a lot more than $940 billion over a 10-year period.

This isn’t the first Congress to employ a “tax now, pay later†approach. But the chicanery of their predecessors doesn’t justify current members fudging the numbers to claim a bill is something it isn’t.

In addition, the bill delays the controversial tax on “Cadillac†health care plans until 2018, when President Obama and many of the current members of Congress are safely out of office. There is no guarantee that the tax will even be enacted. Yet, it is considered to be one of the biggest sources of revenue to fund the program. Without, the bill’s fiscal projections will be greatly altered for the worse.

The CBO similarly was forced to assume that future Congresses will not alter current tax and revenue policies, or will follow through on promised cuts that they previously have failed to enact. This is wishful thinking, to put it mildly.

There’s widespread uncertainty that even the CBO admits exists makes 10-year projections dodgy. But to extend them out 20 years and trumpet it as historic deficit reduction, as Boyd does, is absurd. He would be more accurate forecasting the weather on any given day in 2030.

The United States already is on an unsustainable fiscal path, facing mounting debt and three existing entitlements — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid — whose spending growth needs to be curtailed. It would be madness to create yet another mammoth entitlement.

Even if the fiscal numbers were reliable, the legislation still would expand government power and restrict individual liberty. It would force Americans to purchase health insurance coverage or pay a penalty, with government controlling the kind of insurance that could be purchased. It would create new taxes on businesses and investment income that will retard economic growth.

Lies, procedural tricks, fairy dust budget forecasts, and crushing debt, all to pass the Progressive

dream to have government control health care.
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