Health care: cutting the deficit??

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.

4 Responses to “Health care: cutting the deficit??”

  1. Ben Hoffman Says:

    The proposed cuts are to Medicare Advantage — the privatized part of Medicare that is fraught with waste and corruption.

  2. Lee Says:

    The bill that is coming out of the Senate is the result of negotiations with the “Blue Dog” Democrats, who used the power of the filibuster to, IMHO, trash the bill. Please don’t blame Obama or Democrats as a whole.

    I hate the current bill, but given the presence of Lieberman, is there any real chance of getting something better?

  3. bruce Says:

    hyperinflation is just around the corner, yet the fed funds rate is still under 1%. The federal government is using interest rate manipulation to hide the problems of excessive spending.

    Soon the lid will blow off. Banks are only lending to political foes because EVERY BANKER knows the folly of the current interest rate. 30-year fixed mortgages should be 9% – 12%, and probably will be within in the next 2 years. And even that’s going to be too low!

    The banking industry has been harpooned by the new direct student loans. This was a federal subsidy of the banking system, and is now gone. Rates and fees MUST rise to replace this lost subsidy. More bailouts are just around the corner…

  4. bruce Says:

    correction: “foes” should be “friends”.

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