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  • The Senate Health Bill: Budget Gimmicks Galore

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled his 2,074 page health care bill with claims that the massive measure falls under the $900 billion cost threshold promised by the President.

    To put it charitably, the truth is more complicated. The bill depends on budget gimmicks and unrealistic assumptions and projected savings to reach this goal over the 10 year budget window.

    Consider the four most outrageous “Budget Tricks”. By its construction, the bill:

    • Excludes the Costly “Doctor Fix”. Like the House bill, the Senate bill conveniently ignores the over $200 billion price tag associated with stopping the unavoidable cuts to physicians under the Medicare program. Separating the health care bill like this enables Senator Reid to claim his bill will reduce the deficit. However, in a letter released today, CBO estimates that combining the House bill (H.R. 3961) with the “Dr. Fix” bill (H.R. 3962) would actually “add $89 billion to budget deficits over the 2010–2019 period.”
    • Manipulates the new CLASS Act. The Senate bill, like the House, also includes a new government health care program for long term health insurance, the CLASS Act. The structure of the CLASS Act has premium collections raising revenues for the government in the first 10 years, appearing to aid in reducing the deficit. But the CBO points out that while the CLASS Act would generate net receipts for the government in the initial years when premiums would exceed total benefit payments, but would eventually lead to net outlays when benefits exceed premiums.”
    • Delays Costly Benefits. The Senate bill is cleverly designed to gather revenues (higher taxes, fees, and other offsets) over the full 10 year window but delays paying out the major benefits, like subsidies, until the last 6 years. So, the 2010-2019 estimate is not a full cost estimate of all provisions fully implemented and will certainly add significantly to the true cost of the bill. Moreover, as with all government programs, they always cost more than originally promised.
    • Depends on Uncertain Cuts to Medicare. The Senate bill depends on using cuts to Medicare to pay for its $1.2 Trillion coverage expansion. As explained by the CBO Director:

      Adjusting for inflation, Medicare spending per beneficiary under the bill would increase at an average annual rate of roughly 2 percent during the next two decades—much less than the roughly 4 percent annual growth rate of the past two decades.

      These dramatic savings, of course, assume that these spending cuts stay intact. If the “Dr. Fix” is an illustration, it is highly unlikely that Congress will live up to the deep cuts it proposes for Medicare. As the first round of cuts get close, a frenzied team of high powered lobbyists for the health care industry will no doubt be wearing out shoe leather going door to door in the corridors of Congress. They’ve been successful just about every time.

      Moreover, these cuts include over $118 billion in ‘savings’ resulting from changes to the highly popular Medicare Advantage plans, a move that will directly impact the benefits of millions of seniors. In his analysis of the House bill, where the House of Representatives enacted similar reductions, the Chief Actuary for the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services has confirmed, these changes will result in “less generous packages” and enrollment “would decrease by about 64 percent.”

    True Costs Unknown
    The reality is this Senate bill, like its House counterpart, costs far more than the President’s $900 billion promise and is more likely to run in the trillions. How is it that a bill whose purpose is to save money starts out, with careful caveats and unrealistic assumptions, by spending nearly a trillion dollars?

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to The Senate Health Bill: Budget Gimmicks Galore

    1. Joe (Washington, D.C says:

      The headline, "The Senate Health Bill: The True Costs Are Unknown" should be changed to, "Any Bill in Congress (whether written by Democrats or Republicans): The True Costs Are Unknown". CBO _estimates_ the cost of all bills through Congress. No one knows the true cost until a bill is put into practice. And don't tell me Republicans have never used budgetary sleight-of-hand to make a bill look less costly than it actually is.

    2. Pingback: The Senate Health Bill: The True Costs Are Unknown - Political Forum

    3. AntonioSosa, Florida says:

      The Senate bill is "superior" to the house bill in that it contains more lies, more manipulation, more bribes at our expense, and more measures to harm Americans.

      To get the House to pass the Obamacare scam, Obama and his accomplices lied, manipulated, intimidated, coerced and bribed (at our expense) Big Pharma, the AARP, the AMA, “Catholics” like Cao, insurance companies, etc.

      To get the Senate to pass the scam, Obama and his accomplices have perfected the lies, the manipulation, and the intimidation. And they are bribing (at our expense) additional organizations and people like Mary Landrieu.

    4. AntonioSosa, Florida says:

      Who REALLY wrote the House and Senate bills? We know they were NOT written by our representatives. Our congressmen and senators have not even read them! They are just being manipulated, coerced and bribed into passing them.

      It seems the basic bill was written before Obama was even elected. By whom? By people paid by George Soros and other U.S. enemies, who invested billions to get Obama elected?

      Now the bill is just being tweaked to better manipulate people. The intent of the bill is just government control.

      It’s interesting how this bill has striking similarities with the “URGENT,” “SAVE-THE-POOR” constitutions that Venezuelans, Bolivians, Ecuadorians were manipulated, coerced and bribed into approving, constitutions that have taken away people’s freedoms and rights, and that have multiplied poverty and despair.

      We hope our representatives have the courage and integrity to defend us from the criminal Obamacare scam, which seeks to impose socialism/Marxism on us.

    5. Pingback: The Senate Health Bill: Budget Gimmicks Galore » The Foundry | Health Blog

    6. Pingback: The Senate Health Bill: Budget Gimmicks Galore » The Foundry | Health blog

    7. Reaganite Republican says:

      Look, most people don't want this bill- and they're starting to get pretty mad about the power-drunk Dems' continued rampage.

      The Democrats face a bloodbath next year… some are saying they could lose over 100 seats.

      And by 2012?

      The GOP could take forty states running Gilbert Gottfried, lol

      Hope-n-Change = Train Wreck

      http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com

    8. Pingback: Get Equipped on What’s at Stake with ObamaCare | Conservative Principles Now

    9. Pingback: Morning Bell: A Health Bill Nobody Believes In | Conservative Principles Now

    10. Larry says:

      This socialist agenda President is hell bent on making America a 3rd World Nation.I have been against Barack Hussein Obama since the day he announced his candidacy. While others, even some conservatives hypothesized he would be a mainstream Democrat, I wrote an entire book dedicated to analysis showing he was an unreconstructed socialist.

      But the election didn?t go our way, and I wondered how long it would take others to come around to the reality that he was a hardcore leftist set out to remake America as a 3rd world failed socialist state.

      I have to admit to being surprised at how fast the wheel is turning. First the independents that voted for Obama started to have regrets. Now just one year after his election we are hearing about Democrats in open rebellion against the messiah-in-chief.

    11. scratchgolf says:

      All of this will point to bankruptcy of the government. If "health care" won't do it, fiat money policy or foreign policy will. Just let people live without the un-free interference of "elected officials". As if electing someone guarantees they'll represent you. Now that one is a good joke with hidden costs.

    12. Pingback: Video: Baucus Admits Obamacare Costs $2.5 Trillion | Fix Health Care Policy

    13. Pingback: Video: Baucus Admits Obamacare Costs $2.5 Trillion | Conservative Principles Now

    14. Pingback: Obamacare in the Senate: Medicare Advantage, Medicare Cuts, Home Health Care and Entitlements | Fix Health Care Policy

    15. Pingback: Myth 30. “Healthcare reform” bills will increase doctors’ pay while “saving” nearly half a trillion Medicare dollars. « AAPS News of the Day

    16. Pingback: Myth 31. “Healthcare reform” bills will increase doctors’ pay while “saving” nearly half a trillion Medicare dollars. « AAPS News of the Day

    17. Dale Cord Redondo Be says:

      THE LETTER EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT

      This has to be the email forward of the year! Please take a few minutes to read and absorb just what this woman had to say, and then hopefully everyone will pass it to their entire mailing list, and theirs to theirs until it circles the nation! Time is short and arrogance, stupidity and ignorance abound…

      The following letter read on Glenn Beck 's show, is rapidly circulating around the country. Americans everywhere identify with this 53-year-old woman.. She has given us a voice. Once you read this, you will want to forward it to all of your friends…

      GLENN BECK: I got a letter from a woman in Arizona . She writes an open letter to our nation's leadership:

      "I am a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. Instead, we are burdened with Congressional Dukes and Duchesses who think they know better than the citizens they are supposed to represent.

      There must be someone. Please tell me who you are Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you're willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now.

      You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would feel so horribly disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut-job am I? Well, these briefly are the views and issues for which I seek representation:

      One, illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels.. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution.

      P.S., I'm not a racist. This is not to be confused with legal immigration.

      Two, the STIMULUS bill. I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it.. We told you No, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

      Three: Czars. I want the circumvention of our constitutional checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution, and honor it.

      Four, cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There are many conflicting opinions and it is too soon for this radical legislation. Quit throwing our nation into politically-correct quicksand..

      Five, universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision that will burden me, my children, and grandchildren. Don't you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night without even reading it. Slow down! Fix only what is broken — we have the best health care system in the world — and test any new program in one or two states first.

      Six, growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. More is not better! Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real [Constitutional] obligations Why don't you start there.

      Seven, ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes — how did they pull that one off? Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census with our taxpayer money. I don't trust them with any of our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

      Eight, redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs — and that is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person! Why do you want me to hate my employers? And what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

      Nine, charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves..

      Ten, corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Every company must sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we'll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. (Have you ever ripped off a Band-Aid?) We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

      Eleven, transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let's have it. Let's say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk… Please stop trying to manipulate and appease me with clever wording… I am not the idiot you obviously take me for.. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me..

      Twelve, unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now.

      Take a breath. Listen to the people. Slow down and get some input from nonpoliticians and experts on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed-reading our bills into law. I am not an activist.. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person. I am a parent and a grandparent.. I work. I'm busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

      I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far off course. Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not.

      It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance. Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill… We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is needless urgency and recklessness in all of your recent spending of our tax dollars.

      From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making. We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on bringing our concerns to Washington . Our president often knows all the right buzzwords like unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don't want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we're morons.

      We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented.. You think we're so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work, pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone… and we are now looking at you.

      You have awakened us, the patriotic freedom spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far. Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office.

      We have cancelled vacations. We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn't ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us who will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

      Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this.. We don't care. Political parties are meaningless to us Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution, and that is all that matters to us now.. We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest.. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them.. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you.

      If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one.

      We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent?

      Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming.

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