Friday, October 16, 2009

Obama Tries Cash To Dupe Seniors on Obamacare

Facing poor support among seniors for his version of health care reform, President Obama now tries to lure them into complacency with a special one-time payoff. The Wall Street Journal reports (link):

President Obama announced that he wants to send every American senior a $250 check…. Supposedly these "economic recovery payments" are justified because seniors won't get an inflation-adjusted increase in Social Security benefits this year. This zero cost-of-living, or COLA, increase has many seniors alarmed, and AARP and other lobbies have been fanning their anxiety.
Mr. Obama's $250 check would be the equivalent of another 2% increase, and he is proposing no compensating spending cuts to pay for it. This means the checks will come out of general revenues, which means that they won't be financed based on the traditional calculations of what seniors pay into the system over their working lives.

This $250 gambit also underscores the dishonesty behind the budget math propping up ObamaCare. Democrats are claiming that half of the new entitlement's outlays will be "paid for" with Medicare cuts in future years. But if Democrats can't tolerate a zero COLA for one year in Social Security, how in the world are they going to bless $500 billion in cuts to doctors, hospitals and other Medicare reimbursements?
The real calculation here is political …. Every poll shows that seniors are among the most opposed to ObamaCare—by more than a 10-point margin in a late-September Gallup survey. Democrats are panicked that the zero COLA will feed senior opposition to health care and stop their attempt to ram it into law in the next few weeks. Mr. Obama's $250 checks are essentially bribes, a sort of political anesthesia intended to hush up seniors until the legislation is on the books.
Let’s see – the most recent Democrat version of health care reform just voted out of committee is the Senate Finance Baucus “bill", that I have written about here and here, which seeks to pay for its massive new spending primarily through over $400 billion in cuts to Medicare plus taxes and fees that will be passed along to health care consumers. And even worse, this Democrat plan seeks to turn each Medicare patient’s physician into his or her personal death panel (link) via a powerful incentive to doctors to reduce medical spending on seniors. Seniors are rightly very, very worried.

So Obama thinks he can distract them with a one-time payment of $250 per person.

Larry Kudlow said on his CNBC show today that “This is a naked attempt to buy senior citizen support for this outrageous health care plan, [in which] Medicare is getting slashed.”

Obama, with his support steadily eroding, is looking increasingly desperate.

John M Greco