• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Left Now Admitting Obamacare Full of Budget Gimmicks

    President Barack Obama again asserted today that his health care plan would be deficit neutral chiding: “The argument that opponents are making against this bill does not hold water.”

    But while the President’s most ardent supporters are trying to explain to each other why the benefits of the bill do not start until 2014, they are openly admitting that Obama’s deficit busting claims are complete fiction:

    The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein: “The delay is a budget trick, an attempt to lower the 10-year cost of the bill at the expense of the very people we’re trying to help.”

    Mother Jones‘ Kevin Drum: “I’m pretty sure the 2014 date is mostly due to budget finagling. This stuff can’t be done overnight, but I’ll bet most of it could be implemented within 12 months, and it could certainly be implemented within 24.”

    Talking Points Memo‘s Josh Marshall: “My impression is that some of the delays are there because it makes the budgetary accounting work better in terms of deficit neutrality. And I know the Dems would likely lose critical support without being able to show that the overall bill actually lowers the deficit. But if that’s the main reason, I suspect the legislative authors may be too clever by half since they may be slitting the bill’s and perhaps their own throats in the process.”

    The conveniently shifted budget window of the bill’s spending benefits is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Obamacare’s deficit spending chicanery. Heritage’s health care team reports:

    The Costly “Doctor Fix.” Every year, because of congressionally created formulas in Medicare physician payment, Congress must vote to suspend these pre-ordained payment systems that would automatically cut Medicare payments to physicians. If enacted this year, these cuts would reduce physician payment rates by 21 percent.

    Physicians believe, correctly, that unless there is a fundamental reform of Medicare payment, many physicians will reduce their Medicare practice or stop seeing new Medicare patients, thereby reducing the accessibility of Medicare beneficiaries to physician care. Both the House and the Senate have acknowledged this as part of their agendas for health care reform.

    However, to make their bills appear less costly, the leadership of both houses has removed the doctor fix and its more than $200 billion price tag from their health care bills and presented it as a separate bill. This enables Senator Reid to claim that his bill will reduce the deficit, but the CBO estimates that the House bill (H.R. 3961), combined with the “doctor fix” bill (H.R. 3962), would “add $89 billion to budget deficits over the 2010-2019 period.” The Senate bill plays the same shell game, creating the appearance of deficit reduction by ignoring the inevitable cost of the doctor fix.

    The True Costs of the CLASS Act. The Senate bill, like the House bill, includes the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, which would create a new government health care program for long-term health insurance. This provision creates a national insurance trust that would provide benefits for seniors and the disabled by creating a payment update in Medicare for skilled nursing facilities and home health care providers.

    The CLASS Act is intended to pay for itself with collected premiums. The premiums would produce positive revenues for the government for the first 10 years, appearing to reduce the federal deficit during this time. However, as the CBO points out, while “the program’s cash flows would show net receipts for a number of years, [this would be] followed by net outlays in subsequent decades.” Thus, the CLASS Act appears self-sufficient for the first 10 years but starts running a deficit soon thereafter.

    Unreliable Medicare Cuts. The Senate bill depends on cutting Medicare to pay for its $1.2 trillion coverage expansion. Concerning the impact on Medicare enrollees, as CBO Director Doug Elemendorf explained, the bill would require a substantial reduction in the future growth of per capita beneficiary spending over the next 20 years compared to the previous 20 years.

    Proponents of the Senate legislation claim that Medicare spending reductions would result in higher efficiencies. But as James C. Capretta, a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, argues, “despite all of the talk of ‘delivery system reform,’ the Senate Democratic plan would not transform American medicine to make it more efficient.”[16] The dramatic savings depend on conventional Medicare provider cuts, not on meaningful Medicare reform. Furthermore, as demonstrated by the ongoing effort to correct the Medicare physician payment formula, it is unlikely that Congress would allow such deep cuts to occur in Medicare.

    Moreover, these Medicare cuts include more than $100 billion in “savings” from changes in Medicare Advantage plans, a move that would directly affect the benefits of millions of seniors. In his analysis of the Senate bill, Foster confirmed that these changes would result in “less generous packages” and that enrollment “would decrease by about 33 percent.”

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    40 Responses to Left Now Admitting Obamacare Full of Budget Gimmicks

    1. Freedom of Speech, T says:

      Full of gimmicks? Ya think?

      I would call it something else but the HF would rightfully NOT print it.

    2. Pingback: CBO Says Real 10-Year Cost of Senate Bill Still $2.5 Trillion « Start Thinking Right

    3. Pingback: CBO Says Real 10-Year Cost of Senate ObamaCare Bill Still $2.5 Trillion « Start Thinking Right

    4. Bobbie Jay says:

      KILL THE BILL! OBAMACARE IS INAPPROPRIATE FOR AMERICA. UNETHICAL OF AMERICAN LEADERSHIP! MISLEADING TO NO END. We were told alot of PROMISES for the better of all, regarding obamacare. By simple logic, the result will not be what's promised! It was a trap from the beginning. GET IT AND THOSE THAT WANT IT, OUT!! It is a disaster and destruction based on corruption.

    5. Pingback: Latte Links (12/21) The Health Care Edition | Caffeinated Thoughts

    6. egoist says:

      You mean to tell me we can't have something for nothing? (actually they claim a lot more of some something for a lot less than nothing)

    7. Pingback: Instapundit » Blog Archive » SHOCKER: Left Now Admitting Obamacare Full of Budget Gimmicks….

    8. willis says:

      Congress is now feeling their oats. They can dictate to the country policy governing anything and everything and there is nothing that can be done about it. Our democracy is slipping away and the only thing that can rescue it is a constitutional convention of the states. Sadly, most of the public has never been taught anything about it, given they were educated by liberals from the democratic party. If you really want to have an impact on Congress's deliberations start a series of short articles (we have short attention spans) on the constitutional convention.

    9. Merlin, Virginia says:

      What is the history of government collection of premiums to pay for insurance?

      1. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation collects premiums from companies with defined benefit pension plans to cover insuring those plans. The premiums have never been sufficient and the Corporation is or will be running in the red here pretty soon.

      2. The FDIC? Almost out of money now because of bank failures.

      There probably are others. In addition, what happens in cases where people can't afford the premiums? Are we looking at another subsidy?

    10. Diggs, Colorado Spri says:

      Obama lied, healthcare died.

    11. Mario, Rhode Island says:

      What the Republicans have to do is not allow them to do the "Doctor Fix" at all. They can only build a bill around lies like that because they work under the assumption that the Republicans in Congress will help them fix it later, and take part of the blame when the plan starts losing money. The Republicans should tie any bill fix with a partial repeal; if the Democrats want their health care plan, they should be forced to accept the consequences.

    12. Michael Smith, Sharp says:

      One wonders who, exactly, these clowns think they are fooling?

    13. Pingback: PunditKix

    14. SUSANM/ MD. says:

      we start to pay now, tell ya. the country is ''broke''they will use the money to keep us afloat? ''AMERICA, WE ARE BROKE'' AND OBAMA CARE WILL NOT FIX IT?

    15. John Allen, Springfi says:

      The big lie on this so called budget neutrality is that every penny collected until 2014 will be spent the second the money hits the Treasury. There will be NO money in 2014, just a bunch of IOU's.

      They did this to the Social Security "Lock Box"

      and it will happen again. And the worst part of this is that everyone in the Congress and Senate knows this.

    16. Pingback: Must Know Headlines 12.22.2009 — ExposeTheMedia.com

    17. Pingback: PA Pundits - International

    18. Bill, Forney, TX says:

      Mario is right. The Republican should also introduce legislation NOW that requires a supermajority to pass any expansion of this "starter" health care bill. The Dems know that more money will actually be needed in the future than what they are proposing now & are counting on future legislation to give them that expansion. Force them to live with what they have passed in this great hurry today so that when the actual tab requiring double that amount comes due, they will be forced to scuttle the program. I'd like to hear the Dems arguements against THAT legislation. The Democrats are the ones insisting that it will only cost what they say it will cost today. Also, beware of the attempt to move the 2014 start for coverage to 2012 since it will be so "needed". That alone will be enough to increase the costs by 50%.

    19. Martin Grand junctio says:

      As I wrote on another post, Doesn't the money collected go into congress's general (slush) fund?

      Can the Foundry answer that for me?

    20. Robert, Colorado says:

      No problemo, I think we can keep this deficit neutral forever.

      First we have to keep accepting payments every year. But we only hit deficit neutral if we tax 10 years and cover 6, and it gets worse as time goes on… hmm.

      I've got it, I'm brilliant. We're only going to provide benefits every other year. Just get sick in a covered year (or wait) and this plan should manage to pay for itself without bankrupting the nation.

      Odd that our choices are to bankrupt the nation; or enact a plan that Obama promises is required to avoid bankrupting the nation… one of us is wrong. Maybe I'm wrong and spending another 2.5 trillion dollars a decade after 2014 will save money.

      I need to run an experiment… Can anyone give me 2.5 trillion dollars and see if they're richer after paying me? Anyone?

    21. Dave, NH says:

      What fools. To make health reform unrepealable, you have to get people hooked ASAP, not in 2014. Ten-year deficit neutrality (as the CBO calculates it) can be restored by suspending all the benefits (but not the taxes) from 2015 to 2019.

      The best part is that vast new bureaucracies will be needed to administer this plan, with the top jobs going to Congressmen who sacrificed their careers to pass Obamacare.

    22. Pingback: Guess what? « Modern Commentaries

    23. Pingback: Harry Reid kills 180 thousand people « Internet Scofflaw

    24. Jerry from Chicago says:

      Lies, deceit and more lies. This is how the health care reform initiative got started and that's how it will end. Perhaps this procedure is some sort of a 'left-handed' compliment to the citizens of the U.S. Congress may feel that the American public is not as stupid as they once believed. I am certain Congress feels the need to obfuscate and hide as much of the truth about this bill as possible, because other than the direct beneficiaries, no rational person would ever go along with this.

      To stand up before the American people and have the nerve to say this legislation will reduce the deficit is one of the three biggest lies ever told. Of the other two, one is "the check is in the mail" and the other is, well, you know what the other is.

    25. Pingback: 0bamacare circus roundup, Dec. 22 « Spin, strangeness, and charm

    26. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Even if Obama opens his mouth to breath, its a lie!

    27. Pingback: Where Are All The Lawsuits? « Natural Fake

    28. Patrick Henry - Behi says:

      The entire thing is a deliberate pack of lies, intended only to further destabilize our system and pave the way for eventual government takeover.

      "mandatory insurance" — backed up with a $750-MAXIMUM fine — combined with total removal of all penalties for pre-existing conditions? Nobody in their right mind will carry insurance until their expenses exceed their premiums. Every private insurer will be bankrupt in months.

      Then there's the fact that a clear majority oppose it — 65% according to the latest Rasmussen poll — yet it's "full steam ahead."

      They're not threatened by loss in 2010 – every one of them gets a pension for life, including their "platinum" medical care – even if they only served one 2-year (or 6 for senators) term. Add in the no-show union job, or lucrative "consulting" contract they've no doubt been promised, and they'll make far more money out of office than they could ever skim while in.

      Ultimately this is all a quid-pro-quo to the unions – whose pension-plans are bankrupt and thus must be passed on to the taxpayers.

      Nothing's going to stop them short of armed revolt.

      The entire thing is tyranny, pure and simple.

    29. Claude Cornell says:

      People were hoping for change, but in the years ahead they will still be hoping and all they will have left is a little bit of change.

    30. Louis L Cesar F Levy says:

      What shows you that something is not quite normal? Tricks and lies. So?

    31. Perry OK says:

      I am not worried. Mexico is just down the road. Every doc I know with an ounce of sense is already aligned with someone down there. I guess our medical invasion of mexico is no worse than there invasion. At least they work.

      I am looking a investing in grave markers. There is going to be a large influcts of unregulated or is that over regulated? Anyway it is a fact the people who are passing this _____,are guaranteed good heath care. Like those are the genes that need to be saved!

      Oh well only 3 more years of this leadership. If we can get out the vote we can limit the effect next year.

      Try to have a MERRY CHRISTMAS and at least we won't start importing terrorist till next year. I hope that is free!

    32. Corky says:

      If obamacare becomes law I'm going to quit my job and go on medicaid. I'll just sit back and make others pay. Did you like what I just wrote? Now, IF every AMERICAN did this wouldn't this throw a monkey wrench in the works? With no tax money coming in, what will cheap trick pelosi and MR talk out the side of his mouth obama say? We are going to have a BIG REVOLT in this Country very soon and the democraps should think about it and their place in history.

    33. Freedom of Speech, T says:

      Corky, been thinking the same thing. Don't need material stuff anyway.

      Need to make sure it gets well-publicized so the pain is worth it. And, we need a few million so the numbers stand out!

      I guess that falls under community organizing.

    34. Pingback: Is ObamaCare’s “Individual Mandate” Unconstitutional? | OpenMarket.org

    35. Pingback: Morning Bell: Obama’s Other Broken Health Care Promises | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    36. Pingback: Experts Question Enormous Cost and Constitutionality of Healthcare Legislation | OpenMarket.org

    37. Pingback: “Health Care Freedom” Bills Pass Virginia Senate | OpenMarket.org

    38. Pingback: Obama’s Policies Will Increase National Debt by $9.7 trillion, Says Congressional Budget Office | OpenMarket.org

    39. Pingback: Obama Runs Up Largest Budget Deficit in American History; Monthly Deficit Alone Exceeds Entire Annual Deficit for 2007 Under Bush | OpenMarket.org

    40. Pingback: $3,000,000,000,000 in Tax Increases in President Obama’s Budget | OpenMarket.org

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.