Monday, November 2, 2009

The Pelosi House Democrat Health Care Bill – Why the Lies?

The House Democrat/Pelosi Health Care Bill, HR 3962, is finally out. Connie Hair writes (link): “The new bill is essentially the same bill as the old bill -- H.R. 3200 -- but they’ve added an extra thousand or so extra pages of statist policy, bringing the bill in at a whopping 1,990 pages of nationalized medicine.” The same massive government take-over of heath care, the first step of a two-step maneuver to fully nationalized government-run health care, combined with budget trickery so egregious one can only call it an outright lie to the American people. The Wall Street Journal calls it (link) “among the worst bills Congress has ever seriously contemplated.” There’s no good – just the bad and the ugly.

The bad is that the usual Democrat wish list is all there. There’s the government run plan (link), the so-called “public option,” that would lead to Medicaid for all from de facto government-employed doctors. There’s the mandate that all individuals must buy health insurance or pay a fine, the constitutionality of which has been challenged (link), and as well the costly mandate that employers must offer health insurance to workers (link). The bill includes an expansion of Medicaid (link), where roughly half the costs will be kicked on to the states, many of which are functionally bankrupt. And as expected, what’s not in the bill is lawsuit reform -- in fact, there is specific language to prevent states from enacting meaningful “tort” reform (link).

But the ugly is the how the Democrats purport to pay for all this largesse -- it will cost about $1.3 trillion, or over $1,300 billion, over 10 years, much more than the "net" $894 billion number the Democrats are touting (link). Much of the money will come through higher income taxes and other assorted taxes and fees, like those on medical device manufacturers. And much will come from more than $200 billion of cuts to Medicare, led by a massive reduction in payments to doctors (link) that are mandated by the Medicare sustainable growth rate formula (link), but which the Dems will try to repeal in an action separate from the heath care “reform” bill, thus eliminating elsewhere the “savings” they are counting in their bill -- a disgraceful lie to the American people.

But here’s the big Democrat disgrace: In order to pretend that this massive, unprecedented spending will be “budget neutral,” even beyond the trickery involved with the Bill’s spending cuts to doctors and hospitals that they know will never happen, the Democrats must resort to egregious and transparent “budget trickery” (link): “the bill relies on some of the same budgetary gimmicks as the Senate Finance Committee's bill. Once again, we see that the Democrats backload the spending provisions into the final six years of the CBO's 10 year budget window to make it appear cheaper. Specifically, the CBO says the bill's gross spending will be $60 billion in the first four years, and $995 billion in the next six years (or 94 percent of the total).” In other words, roughly 10 years of revenues but only 6 years of spending in the Bill that the Congressional Budget Office, which looks at only the first 10 years, declared to be budget neutral.

It is beyond belief that any American political party, let alone one as large and important as this one, would resort to such blatant and transparent lying and trickery to convince Americans of their falsehoods that this Bill will pay for itself and not add to the national deficit, leaving aside for the moment its destructive content. This sordid episode is perhaps the best indication of what the Democratic party leadership really thinks of the American people – that we are simply proles who must be tricked into supporting what the liberal elite thinks is in our (and no doubt its) best interest.

John M Greco