Posts Tagged ‘deficit neutral’

Democrats ‘Fix’ ObamaCare Numbers By Leaving Out TRILLIONS In Additional Spending

March 20, 2010

This is Bernie Madoff Accounting. And the same fate that befell Madoff’s investors will one day befall the American people. The Democrats only count the costs they want to count, and simply pretend the rest don’t exist, or assure us that they somehow shouldn’t be counted.  Positive numbers from unrealistic expectations show up on one side of the ledger, while negative numbers representing massive government and personal spending are ignored.

This article will demonstrate the REAL cost of ObamaCare.  And what we will find is that the monster it creates will sneeze chunks bigger than the $940 billion that the CBO score pitches.

It’s not like the CBO isn’t aware that it is being played like a fiddle.  They can only analyze legislation as it is presented – and this legislation is being presented by partisan Democrat ideologues.  The CBO has pointed out that the Democrats have a pattern of double-counting the same dollars.  But they can’t do anything about it: if the Democrats tell them to double-count, they dutifully double-count.  Paul Ryan points out that Medicare cuts are double counted, Social Security taxes get double counted, increased CLASS Act premiums get double counted, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.  Other sources of revenue – such as the not-to-be-implemented “Cadillac Tax” which would itself count for 25% of deficit reduction in the CBO score – will likely NEVER see the light of day. The CBO numbers become a shell game.

You can understand why the Democrats would want to run away from details of the CBO score. If the facts get in the way of their theory, so much the worse for the facts.

Then there’s the likelihood that ObamaCare will destroy as many as 700,000 jobs.  What’s THAT going to cost America?  Would THAT be “deficit neutral”?  And how much will it cost Americans as increased government taxes on private health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device and supply companies, pass the burden of those taxes onto us? Will THAT be “deficit neutral” for American families?

But let’s stay out of the budgetary weeds, and remain on what is clear and straightforward.

Let us first begin with the “Doctor fix,” which is a $208 billion spending measure to restore the reimbursement rates for doctors who treat Medicare patients.  If it isn’t passed, the current rate – which already leaves hospitals and many doctors losing money to treat Medicare patients – would be slashed by an additional 21 percent.  It simply has to be fixed, or doctors and hospitals will quit treating Medicare patients.

But if the Democrats strip that part out of their health care bill, they can claim that 21 percent reduction in doctors’ reimbursements as “savings.”  Even if they intend to fix the reimbursement rate, such that those “saving” never materialize.  And that little bit of fiscal circular reasoning allows them to claim that their bill is “deficit neutral.”

Medicare fix would push health care into the red
Rollback of Medicare cuts to doctors, if added to health care bill, push it into the red
On Friday March 19, 2010, 6:33 pm EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional budget scorekeepers say a Medicare fix that Democrats included in earlier versions of their health care bill would push it into the red.

The Congressional Budget Office said Friday that rolling back a programmed cut in Medicare fees to doctors would cost $208 billion over 10 years. If added back to the health care overhaul bill, it would wipe out all the deficit reduction, leaving the legislation $59 billion in the red.

The so-called doc fix was part of the original House bill. Because of its high cost, Democrats decided to pursue it separately. Republicans say the cost should not be ignored. Congress has usually waived the cuts to doctors year by year.

What this basically means is that $940 billion number in the CBO report that the Democrats are cheering over is entirely subjective.  It would have been a lot higher if they had included the stuff they should have included.  And they didn’t include these things simply because it would have made their number look bad.  It’s Alice in Wonderland accounting.

So let’s look at the truth: Democrats are claiming that their “$940 billion bill” would reduce the ten-year deficit by $138 billion.  But in reality, the doctor fix which SHOULD be in the bill would INCREASE THE DEFICIT by $59 billion.  That’s a swing of 197 billion dollars, which is one hell of a swing indeed.

But that certainly isn’t the only budget shenanigan that Democrats have used to monkey the numbers to appear to look like what they want:

For a variety of reasons, this tally doesn’t remotely reflect the bill’s real ten-year costs.  First, it includes 2010 as the initial year.  As most people are well aware, 2010 has now been underway for some time.  Therefore, the CBO would normally count 2011 as the first year of its analysis, just as it counted 2010 as the first year when analyzing the initial House health bill in the middle of 2009.  But under strict instructions from Democratic leaders, and over strong objections from Republicans, the CBO dutifully scored 2010 as the first year of the latest version of Obamacare.  If the clock were started in 2011, the first full year that the bill could possibly be in effect, the CBO says that the bill’s ten-year costs would be $1.2 trillion.

This $260 billion ($1.2 trillion minus $940 billion) deficit created by backdating the bill to 2010 instead of starting in 2011 when they should (until Democrats instructed them to do differently) has nothing to do with the deficit created by the doctor fix.  So they compound: $260 billion plus $197 billion equals $457 billion.

So we’re talking about a real and obvious deficit of nearly half a trillion dollars.  But that’s nowhere near as bad as it will really be.

You see, even starting the CBO ten-year cycle in 2011 is nothing more than a gimmick.  That’s because the plan begins taxing in 2011, but benefits (actual spending outlays) don’t begin to be funded until 2014.  The Democrats tax for ten years, but only spend for six.  Why did they do that?  Because that is the only way they can get the illusion of a “deficit neutral” figure.  As Heritage points out:

[S]ome scrupulous tactics were used to calculate the 10-year cost projections. The key provisions in the health care bill don’t go into effect until 2014. Meanwhile Medicare cuts and tax increases would go into effect immediately. So the money raised through taxes and spending cuts in the first four years of the 10-year projection would offset the expenditures in the subsequent six years. Consequently, when the true ten year window (2014-2023) is examined, and the costs of the “Doc Fix” are taken into account, the cost rises to $2.3 trillion.

This – and the shenanigans Democrats employ with the CLASS Act – is why Heritage rightly calculates the REAL cost of ObamaCare as likely far higher than $2.5 TRILLION.

These are obvious and transparent gimmicks.  But the mainstream media is largely simply ignoring it.  They are liberal in their ideology and “gatekeepers” in their philosophy of journalism.  The result is that they don’t tell you anything that they don’t want you to know.

But even that – as utterly terrible as it is – is STILL not anywhere close to the REAL cost of this disastrous health care bill.  Consider the most sobering Democrat omission of all.  From Cato:

Another gimmick pushes much of the legislation’s costs off the federal budget and onto the private sector by requiring individuals and employers to purchase health insurance.  When the bills force somebody to pay $10,000 to the government, the Congressional Budget Office treats that as a tax.  When the government then hands that $10,000 to private insurers, the CBO counts that as government spending.  But when the bills achieve the exact same outcome by forcing somebody to pay $10,000 directly to a private insurance company, it appears nowhere in the official CBO cost estimates — neither as federal revenues nor federal spending.  That’s a sharp departure from how the CBO treated similar mandates in the Clinton health plan.  And it hides maybe 60 percent of the legislation’s total costs.  When I correct for that gimmick, it brings total costs to roughly $2.5 trillion (i.e., $1 trillion/0.4).

Here’s where things get really ugly.  TPMDC’s Brian Beutler calls “the” $2.5-trillion cost estimate a “doozy” of a “hysterical Republican whopper.”  Not only is he incorrect, he doesn’t seem to realize that Gregg and I are correcting for different budget gimmicks; it’s just a coincidence that we happened to reach the same number.

When we correct for both gimmicks, counting both on- and off-budget costs over the first 10 years of implementation, the total cost of ObamaCare reaches — I’m so sorry about this — $6.25 trillion.  That’s not a precise estimate.  It’s just far closer to the truth than President Obama and congressional Democrats want the debate to be.

For the record, it was this subsidizing of the private health insurance companies that Dennis Kucinich was talking about before he backstabbed his own principles and voted for the bill anyway.

In 1994, the universal health care plan proposed by President Clinton included a mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office studied the issue and concluded that the United States had never in all its history mandated that individuals purchase any good or service.  The CBO stated:

A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action. The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States. An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government.”

But it is going to start doing so now, under Obama and the Democrats in Congress.  They could care less about the Constitution, or about the consequences of radically expanding already massive government bureaucracies.

Obama is going to force you to purchase insurance, but the CBO won’t count the cost of one penny of that spending, now or ever.  If you send money to the government that the government requires you to send them, that’s a tax.  If the government spends money, that counts as spending.  But if the government forces you to send money to a private health insurance company, that isn’t counted.  It amounts to a tax that isn’t “deemed” (there’s a good word these days) a tax.

Thus the REAL ten-year cost of ObamaCare won’t be $940 billion.  It won’t even be $2.5 trillion.  It will be SIX TRILLION DOLLARS.  And counting, and counting, and counting, and counting.

Advertisements

All Immoral Democrat Gimmicks Aside, Senate Bill Funds Abortions

January 8, 2010

The Democrats’ deceit on health care is the most appalling thing I have ever seen.

They slash half a trillion dollars from the Medicare budget; dishonestly dodge the “Doc-fix“; force people to buy insurance in a flagrant abuse of the Constitution; raise taxes on people Obama REPEATEDLY SWORE he would not raise taxes on; and massively raise taxes in what amounts to an unfunded mandate for states across the board (well, except for Nebraska.  You get to pay their tab).  Not to mention they play every gimmick imaginable to create the illusion that the bill is “deficit neutral” so they can get a favorable CBO score.

Obama and Democrats – who demonized Republicans – promised that they would have the most open and transparent administration in history.  But they have been the most closed and opaque administration in history.  Obama promised he would put the health care care debate on C-SPAN for all to watch:

President Obama, “But what we will do is, we’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.”

Mind you, as Democrat National Committee Chairman Howard Dean pointed out, insurance companies have recently received all kinds of benefits from the Democrats behind closed doors.  Obama’s Democrats have become the people that Obama most fearmongered us about while on the campaign trail.

And in fact this has been such a secretive, closed-door, underhanded process that even many senior Democrats have publicly acknowledged being kept in the dark.

And we’ve literally got the chief executive of C-SPAN begging to cover the debate even as Democrats burrow the process even deeper into the underground sewers where they seem to live now.

These are fundamentally dishonest people who want to seize control of your ability to make medical decisions for yourself and your loved ones.

And we find out that even the “good” or “moderate” Democrats are bad.  Ben Nelson sold his vote – to the red-faced outrage of his own state – while dishonestly claiming he had protected taxpayer funds from being used to fund abortion.

And we find that that’s a lie, too.  Abortion IS funded by this bill, as even Democrats are openly acknowledging now (at least now that they got the vote they wanted).  Everything these Democrats are telling us is lies.

Kathleen Sebelius Admits, Covers Up Abortion Funding in Health Care Measure

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 22, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is getting attention for an interview yesterday in which she essentially admits that the American public would be forced to pay for abortions under the Senate health are bill and then relies on accounting gimmicks to suggests that’s not the case.

Sebelius spoke with BlogHer interviewer Morra Aarons-Mele yesterday and praised the new abortion language the Senate adopted in Harry Reid’s manager’s amendment.

The language, submitted by Sen. Ben Nelson in conjunction with Sen. Bob Casey and pro-abortion Sens. Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray, opens the door to massive abortion funding.

“I would say that the Senate language, which was negotiated by Senators Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray, who are very strong defenders of women’s health services and choices for women, take a big step forward from where the House left it with the Stupak amendment,” the pro-abortion Obama administration official said.

Sebelius said she thinks the language does a “good job making sure there are choices for women, making sure there are going to be some plan options, and making sure that while public funds aren’t used.”

She added: “That would be an accounting procedure, but everybody in the exchange would do the same thing, whether you’re male or female, whether you’re 75 or 25, you would all set aside a portion of your premium that would go into a fund, and it would not be earmarked for anything, it would be a separate account that everyone in the exchange would pay.”

“It is a bit confusing, but it’s really an accounting that would apply across the board and not just to women, and certainly not just to women who want to choose abortion coverage,” Sebelius concluded.

Ed Morrissey, a HotAir blogger, noticed the interview and pointed out how Sebelius essentially admitted everyone would pay into the exchange but denied that public funds would be used for abortions.

“What constitutes the notion of ‘public funds?'” he asked. “If the government forces us to pay into a fund, and then controls the distribution of those funds, are those funds not ‘public?'”

“Sebelius praises the abortion-funding language in the Reid bill, as it maintains a flow of funds for abortion coverage that everyone — and she means everyone — supplies,” Morrissey adds.

Morrissey says the health care bill’s system of government funding of abortion is “only confusing if you bought Ben Nelson’s dodge that Reid had changed the abortion-funding language in any significant way.”

“If the government forces it citizens to pay into premium exchanges and then controls the distribution of that money, then it becomes a public fund in any interpretation. That’s especially true if its intent is to be a slush fund for bureaucrats to apply to whatever purpose they see fit,” he concludes.

Sebelius could eventually play a major role in abortion funding because of the Mikulski amendment, which makes it so the Obama administration can define abortion as “preventative care” and force insurance companies to pay for them.

So that’s how the Democrat’s prevent public funding to pay for abortion.  They dishonestly, with clear malicious intent, lie and hide behind bureaucratic gimmickry to not just use public money to pay for abortions while denying their doing it, but to go for broke in forcing public money in for abortions in the guise of “preventative care.”

Abortion is an incredibly important subject.  And how it is treated is vital to the entire health care process.  And to dishonestly pretend one thing while doing another is a glaring demonstration of how profoundly deceitful and disingenuous Democrats have become.

This outrage violates the American spirit and is yet another liberal fascist tyranny.

Thomas Jefferson put it best:

“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” –Thomas Jefferson

I believe abortion is a moral crime.  I believe that abortion results in the unjustified homicide of an innocent human being.

And to go even further, I believe this health care bill constitutes the socialist statist takeover of the most important and sacred 1/6th of our economy.  I believe that this bill will all-too soon result in medical rationing, and the death by medical neglect of millions of innocent human beings to resolve the next budget crisis.

And according to every single major poll, most Americans agree with me.

But it doesn’t matter to Democrats.  They see an opportunity to redefine America and make it something more far more akin to Karl Marx and Chairman Mao than to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Mayo Clinic Realizes ObamaCare A Total Disaster, Stops Accepting Medicare

January 1, 2010

What we have here is a very cute and clever title for a very disastrous development.

Mayo Says: Hold The Medicare
By Ed Carson
Thu., Dec. 31, ’09

The Mayo Clinic will stop accepting Medicare patients at one of its primary care clinics in Arizona. Why? The government doesn’t pay enough:

More than 3,000 patients eligible for Medicare, the government’s largest health-insurance program, will be forced to pay cash if they want to continue seeing their doctors at a Mayo family clinic in Glendale, northwest of Phoenix, said Michael Yardley, a Mayo spokesman. The decision, which Yardley called a two-year pilot project, won’t affect other Mayo facilities in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota.

Obama in June cited the nonprofit Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio for offering “the highest quality care at costs well below the national norm.” Mayo’s move to drop Medicare patients may be copied by family doctors, some of whom have stopped accepting new patients from the program, said Lori Heim, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

This is nothing compared to what might happen under Democratic health overhaul plans, which would slash Medicare spending by nearly $500 billion over 10 years. As Medicare actuaries recently pointed out in understated fashion, such cuts “may be unrealistic.” But, if Congress actually carried them out, about one in five hospitals, nursing homes and home care agencies could lose money, they warned in their report.

As a result, such providers could drop Medicare, leaving seniors with less access.

This is now only going on at one Mayo clinic – but it is going to spread.

Don’t think for a second that this isn’t directly related to the disaster known as ObamaCare.  Democrats are gutting Medicare reimbursements and blocking the essential “doctor fix” from their bill to create the contrived and bogus illusion that their boondoggle will provide “deficit neutrality.”  They are playing all kinds of games and gimmicks, such as taxing for ten years and only providing benefits for five, to support that illusion.

It will fail, and a lot of people will die.

Alan B. Miller, an expert in the field of health care, wrote:

Medicare reimbursements to hospitals fail to cover the actual cost of providing services. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), an independent congressional advisory agency, says hospitals received only 94.1 cents for every dollar they spent treating Medicare patients in 2007. MedPAC projects that number to decline to 93.1 cents per dollar spent in 2009, for an operating shortfall of 7%. Medicare works because hospitals subsidize the care they provide with revenue received from patients who have commercial insurance. Without that revenue, hospitals could not afford to care for those covered by Medicare. In effect, everyone with insurance is subsidizing the Medicare shortfall, which is growing larger every year.

As much as Obama and the Democrats have demonized private insurance (before co-opting them in the current version of ObamaCare – what is it, ObamaCare version 6.0 by now?), the higher prices paid by private insurance have been all that has allowed doctors and hospitals to continue to accept Medicare and Medicaid at a loss.

And so, what do you think will happen when Democrats cut the reimbursement rates?  People who have commons sense know: hospitals and doctors will begin to see fewer and fewer Medicare patients, as a matter of simple economic necessity.

That isn’t a “reform,” but a disaster.

And this stuff is why the dean of the Harvard Medical School gave ObamaCare a failing grade.  It’s why the California Medical Association recently came out strongly against the bill.  It’s why more and more state governors – Democrats as well as Republicans – are beginning to scream that ObamaCare merely turns Medicaid into a giant deficit-creating unfunded mandate on the states (again, to create the illusion of being “deficit neutral”).

Enough with illusions.  This bill is absolutely terrible.  It’s more than 2,000 pages long, nobody understands it, and it has changed again and again, yet actually seems to be getting worse and worse.

Democrats Worried About Fact That They Haven’t Been Worried About Jobs

November 17, 2009

This would be funny, if it wasn’t so blatantly pathetic:

Pelosi switches to jobs
By Mike Soraghan – 11/16/09 08:41 PM ET

House Democratic leaders, worried they’ve appeared unresponsive to rising unemployment because they were absorbed by healthcare, are aiming for a legislation solution by Christmas.

That focus follows a similar shift in the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told colleagues he also plans to bring up a jobs measure, The Hill reported first last week.

The House change began Monday night when leaders scheduled AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Robert Kuttner, co-editor of The American Prospect, to address the House Democratic Caucus.

And it could end with an economic package on the floor sometime in December, Democratic sources said.

But some leadership aides cautioned that leaders are still debating whether to do one large package or a series of smaller bills.

And they say the Obama administration has yet to get on board.

One way or another, aides say, House Democrats’ message from now to Christmas will be about jobs.

“We continue to look for opportunities to build on the recovery package and other actions Congress has taken to bolster the economy,” said Nadeam Elshami, spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Leaders want members to have something to take home with them to show that they’re working on the economy. But they have to balance that against growing discomfort among voters about skyrocketing government spending.

It’s not that Democrats give a damn about jobs; they just want to make sure like they LOOK like they give a damn about jobs.

Obama promised that if his giant pork-laden generational theft act known as the “stimulus” passed, unemployment would be capped at no higher than 8%.  And then it just kept growing and growing.

The Democrats’ plan never was about jobs, but about government control and about creating a trillion dollar political slush fund.

Don’t believe me about the stimulus slush fund?

To get as far as the bill did so far, it appears the administration might have spread some money around. California Rep. Jim Costa was wavering but told a local newspaper last week that his vote could be contingent on getting some federal money for a new medical school in his district along with help for local hospitals.

When a constituent named Bob Smittcamp e-mailed him to complain about his vote for the House bill, the congressman explained he’d been offered the dollars he was looking for — $128 million in federal money.

“He responded to me by basically saying that he did not like many of the elements there were in the legislation. However, he was able to procure $128m for the University of California medical school in Merced,” Smittcamp told Fox News.

They have spent the last five months (plus) utterly consumed by a government health care takeover that most Americans didn’t want virtually from the outset.

Now we’re learning that this massive 2,000 page monstrosity is anything BUT “deficit neutral” even in the first ten years (and it blows up into enormous deficits thereafter) and that it most definitely WILL hurt seniors and undermine Medicare.

And all the Democrats can say is “full steam ahead!”

A few things come out of this “Pelosi switches to jobs” article:

1) The Democrats are literally afraid that the American people will recognize the truth and get angry about it.

2) Democrats have absolutely no clue how to create jobs.  And Obama has even less of a clue than the other Democrats.

3) The Democrats are turning their “job creation” over to the unions.

And it’s number three that frankly pisses me off the most.

It’s amazing that the SEIU only has 2.2 million members, but more influence than anyone else bar none in the Obama administration.  SEIU president Andy Stern – basically a confirmed Marxist – has had more visits to the White House (22 so far) than ANYONE.

It’s really no surprise that Obama and the Democrats would run to their special interest to write their legislation for them.  SEIU was given a huge hand in crafting both the stimulus and the health care legislation; why NOT let them write the next jobs bill too?

The words of Barack Hussein Obama, as presidential candidate:

“Your agenda has been my agenda in the United States Senate. Before debating health care, I talked to Andy Stern and SEIU members. Before immigration debates took place in Washington, I talked with Eliseo Medina and SEIU members. Before the EFCA, I talked to SEIU. So, we’ve worked together over these last few years and I am proud of what we’ve done. I’m just not satisfied.”

Obama’s number-one visitor is on the record as saying:

“We’re trying to use the power of persuasion. And if that doesn’t work, we’re going to use the persuasion of power”

And Obama’s union thugs are all about using “the persuasion of power.”

Glenn Beck pointed out that he had a solid 3 million viewers.  And he wondered how the American people would act if HE had had more visits than anyone else to the Bush White House, and got to write the stimulus and the “job creation” legislation.

The AFL-CIO has about 11.5 million members, based on their own information.  With a total of 15.4 million union members in the United States.  Rush Limbaugh has 14.2 to 25 million listeners, according to the Washington Post.  And I wonder how liberals would react if Rush Limbaugh had more visits to the White House than anyone, and got to write the laws that will run the nation.

So you start to see just how blatantly partisan and ideological the Democrat Party truly is.  The union agenda is just as hostile to what Republicans want for the nation as Glenn Beck’s or Rush Limbaugh’s agenda is to what Democrats want for the nation.

We’re not just talking about partisanship; we’re talking about HYPERHYPER-partisanship.

Let me say about jobs what Libertychick said about health care: “SEIU (and by obvious extension AFL-CIO) doesn’t care about jobs.  SEIU cares about SEIU.”  Barack Obama and the Democrat Party are going to let the unions and the hard-core union agenda write themselves huge sums of taxpayer dollars.

What’s that?  You DON’T think that the SEIU only gives a damn about the SEIU?

From the Allentown Morning Call:

In pursuit of an Eagle Scout badge, Kevin Anderson, 17, has toiled for more than 200 hours hours over several weeks to clear a walking path in an east Allentown park.

Little did the do-gooder know that his altruistic act would put him in the cross hairs of the city’s largest municipal union.

Nick Balzano, president of the local Service Employees International Union, told Allentown City Council Tuesday that the union is considering filing a grievance against the city for allowing Anderson to clear a 1,000-foot walking and biking path at Kimmets Lock Park.

“We’ll be looking into the Cub Scout or Boy Scout who did the trails,” Balzano told the council.

These unions don’t give a damn about you.  They don’t give a damn about your family.  They don’t give a damn about your community.  They don’t give a damn about altruism or volunteerism or doing right.  And they would burn a Boy Scout’s house down if they thought it would serve their greedy partisan interests.

And the Democrats don’t give a damn about you, either.  Frankly, the Democrats aren’t much different from their number one special interest group.  Democrats are now rushing to cover their hindquarters because they ignored the economy while they were focused on trying to TAKE OVER the economy via their health care agenda.