How CBO Scored Baucus Health Care Plan As Defict Neutral

Suppose I told you that I can fly by flapping my arms at a rate of 40 miles an hour, and I were to ask you how long it would take me to get to the top of a hill located 30 miles away.  The correct answer would be to say, “45 minutes.”

In actual point of fact, of course, I can’t fly by flapping my arms, I can’t walk at anywhere near the rate of 40 miles an hour, and I would likely have to take a considerably longer route up to the hilltop.  It would probably take me a good two days to get to that hilltop, if I were operating in the realm of factual reality.  But your job wasn’t to check whether I had wings; it was to score the math in my proposal.

That’s basically the sort of answer the Congressional Budget Office gave to the $829 billion (so far) Baucus health plan.

When the Senate Finance Committee handed the abbreviated version of the Baucus plan to the CBO, the CBO assumed that Congress would do exactly what the plan said Congress was supposed to do.  And if Congress does ONLY what is in the bill without adding ANYTHING, and imposes EVERY unpopular (even with Democrats) tax that the bill calls for, the CBO claimed that the Baucus plan would cost a deficit-neutral $829 billion over ten years.

Here are some things that would have to happen for the deficit-neutral $829 billion cost projection to be even close to correct:

First, the Medicare budget – which has never been cut or reduced in spite of repeated attempts to do so in the past – would have to be slashed by $404 billion over ten years.  Senior citizens would absolutely freak.  It will not happen.  If it did happen, Democrats would lose every single seat in the next election, as Republicans simply promised that if they are voted in, they would overturn the bill.

So add that $404 billion back in.  And the bill is already no longer even CLOSE to being “deficit neutral.”

Second, there are $201 billion in taxes for the so-called “Cadillac” health care plans.  And while there are some bigwig execs that collect such benefits, the overwhelming majority of the plans go to union employees.

Question: do you truly believe that Democrats won’t exempt the Democrat-supporting unions – which will just go to show what a truly partisan plan the Democrats are truly offering – before all is said and done?

So you can subtract a whopping load of the $200 billion in tax revenue.   It aint going to happen.  And that deficit this bill will create will go up by another giant amount.

Third, the Baucus plan is going to impose $121 billion in taxes – with $29 billion of that just discovered hidden in the byzantine language of the bill  – on insurers and medical device suppliers – which the CBO has said would simply be passed on to customers in higher prices.

This amounts to a tax on customers that is passed off as “fees” for the business that will pass the taxes on to customers.  It is simply a cowardly way to raise taxes.

And this goes to the heart of what is wrong with “the public option.”  If you tax the insurers and the providers in order to generate revenue for the public option, what obviously happens?  You undermine the private companies in order to supplant them with the government.  It will drive the private industry out of the industry, leaving only the government to fill the vacuum that it created in the first place.

In addition to those taxes, there will also be $27 billion in taxes collected from those who will be forced to buy insurance.  So much for Obama’s promise that people making under $250,o00 won’t see their taxes go up a single dime.  Unless you want to argue that “$27 billion is NOT a single dime,” so Obama was telling us the truth.

Healthy younger people who have historically decided they could forgo insurance will HAVE to pay significantly into the Democrats’ system in order to “spread the risk and share the burden.”  Too bad they didn’t know that when they voted for Obama.  What can I say except, “Surprise!”

Fourth, it needs to be pointed out that after that ten years, the costs of the Baucus bill would absolutely skyrocket.  Why?  Because the Baucus plan – if passed – would begin collecting taxes/fees beginning next year, but would not actually begin supplying benefits and thus accumulating costs until after 2013 — and don’t go fully into effect until 2015.  The Baucus plan will therefore have three to as much as five years to collect revenue before having to pay out any money.  That makes it a lot easier to be “deficit neutral.”  But it’s based on smoke and mirrors.  And of course outright lies.

But unfortunately, the CBO only scores the plan for the first ten years.

Stop and think: the federal budget deficit for 2009 was just announced to be a an absolutely staggering $1.4 TRILLION – which is more than THREE TIMES more than Bush’s all-time high 2008 deficit of $459 billion.  Which incredibly cynical Democrats pounced upon as “fiscally irresponsible.”  And Obama’s 2009 deficit will represent an astounding and utterly unsustainable 9.9% of the nation’s entire gross domestic product (it was 3.2% in spend-crazy 2008).  There is utterly no possible way we will be able to afford to see our spending continue to skyrocket in future years as it will under the Baucus plan.

And fifth, it turns out that Joe Wilson was more right when he shouted “You lie!” at Obama for saying that illegal immigrants would not be covered than many first realized.

According to what we’re being told, the Baucus plan would cover 94% of the population by 2019.  That means about 25 million people would not be covered.  Including illegal immigrants.  From the AP:

It said that by 2019, “the number of nonelderly people who are uninsured would be reduced by about 29 million,” either through private insurance or by enrolling in federal programs. That would leave an additional 25 million uninsured, about one-third of them illegal immigrants who are not eligible for coverage under the bill.

At the time that Wilson made that outburst, the language in the plans actually proved that Obama was factually wrong — and the Democrats’ proposals WOULD have covered illegals.  They since tightened up the language such that illegals are excluded.

But ARE they excluded?  It turns out that this is just another fantasy, smoke-and-mirrors illusion as well.  The fact of the matter is that the Supreme Court has been very consistent in its interpretation of the word “persons” over the last couple of decades.  The SCOTUS has repeatedly ruled the “persons” means ALL people in the country, whether citizen or illegal alien whenever government social plans have been at issue.

Do you know what that means?  It means that the only way to prevent illegal immigrants from being allowed to obtain benefits from a big government social program is to not have the big government social program in the first place.

Illegal immigrants WILL ultimately be covered under this plan.  Don’t be so naive as to think otherwise.  That will cost us plenty.  And nobody is factoring it in.

Medicare has cost more than NINE TIMES more than projected by 1990:

In 1966, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated Medicare would cost $12 billion a year by 1990; in 1990, however, Medicare cost $107 billion, nine times more than its estimate.

And the Medicare program is so deep in the bottomless pit of red ink that Newseek says it could go bankrupt as soon as NEXT YEAR.

Does anyone think the government will do better counting its cost now than it ever has in the past?  Does anyone truly believe that a president who created a deficit THREE TIMES higher than Bush’s historic 2008 deficit (again, $1.4 TRILLION vs. $459 billion) will be able to control spending?

Think about it: Medicare is about to go bankrupt even as Democrats are voting to raid some half trillion dollars from it to pay for their new liberal health gimmick.

We need to fix and reform Medicare rather than create a giant system that will make the coming health care collapse all the greater.

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