The health care bill being pushed through Congress by Democrats alone, on straight party votes, is projected to cost close to a trillion dollars over the next decade.
President Obama said yesterday, “For all those who are continually carping about how this is somehow a big spending government bill, this cuts our deficit by $132 billion the first 10 years, and by over a trillion in the second.”
Confused? How can the government reduce the deficit by spending more?
Simple: the added costs are to be offset by Medicare spending cuts.
But there’s a little footnote about that: while the added spending is inviolably locked in, the Medicare “cuts” are mere expressions of intent to legislate the cuts . . . some day. Sort of like Saint Augustine’s saying, “God, make me chaste . . . but not yet.”
Nobody really believes those Medicare cuts will ever happen. Nobody. Any such cuts would encounter a buzz-saw of political opposition from affected senior citizens. Congress has proven over and over that it’s constitutionally incapable of cutting a nickel from the Medicare program. No one will ever even propose legislation to implement the cuts. For the President and his Congressional allies to claim that they’re somehow cutting the deficit, while actually adding mightily to it, is a cruel, sick joke.
Frankly, I expected far better from this president.
And the sad thing is that we had here an opportunity to really do something about rising health care costs. For example, removing barriers to insurance companies competing across state lines. Or tort reform, which involves not merely the amounts doled out in malpractice lawsuits, but vastly more, because of the pervasive ways in which our existing system distorts the practice of medicine.
But the pending bill does nothing about any of this.