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  • Could Trillion Dollar Debt Kill Obama Health Care Reform?

    President Barack Obama

    It seems the President’s spending habits have finally caught up with him, threatening to kill a government overhaul of health care. Though President Obama and congressional Democrats continue to insist that health care reform is on the horizon, the increasing national concern over the rising public debt presents an undeniable obstacle.

    James Capretta, a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, outlines why this is the case in a recent article for Kaiser Health News. First of all, President Obama is responsible for raising the debt to unprecedented levels. Capretta explains, “From 1789 through 2008, the U.S. government borrowed a total of $5.8 trillion. In 2009, the federal budget deficit exceeded $1.4 trillion. The administration now expects the 2010 deficit to break that record, topping $1.6 trillion. And in 2011, it would only fall to about $1.3 trillion. Thus, in just three years, the debt will have jumped an astonishing $4.2 trillion.”

    This outlook will making passing a budget-buster like the Senate health care bill difficult. By 2020, the President’s budget would raise the federal debt to $18.6 trillion. This includes the adoption of a health care bill, which falsely relies on $150 billion in budget deficit reductions between now and 2019. The only problem is that the bill would not reduce the deficit at all—rather, it would add to it substantially. A recent letter from the Congressional Budget Office to Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) explains this.

    And then there is the question of how President Obama will tackle the nation’s impending fiscal crisis. The President’s plan is to pass health care reform and address deficit spending later through a weak and likely inconsequential bipartisan deficit reduction commission. This commission would present its proposals to Congress for a vote after the 2010 election, meaning voters’ decisions at the polls would not affect the fate of this vital legislation. This is unlikely to satisfy Americans’ concerns over the sustainability of federal spending.

    Congress’ last possible plan is to pass the Senate bill in the House, accompanied by a second bill of amendments to appease House members. The Senate would use reconciliation to forego a filibuster which could kill the bill thanks to newly-seated Senator Scott Brown (R-MA). But, as Capretta puts it, “Reconciliation measures are supposed to address budgetary matters. How could amendments to something that is not yet in law change outlays or revenues in any rational way?”

    Capretta points out that, in general, the release of a new budget marks the start of a fresh legislative session. It will be difficult for Congress and the President to backtrack to include health care reform in its plans for 2010, as the Congressional Budget Office will have reset its baseline and the congressional budget committees with have already begun to write new budget resolutions.

    Because of all this, not to mention the myriad of unintended consequences the Senate bill would unleash on health care, the economy, and every American family, President Obama should wipe the slate clean and start afresh in reforming health care. This time, the President should work with both sides of the aisle and embrace step-by-step reforms that all can agree will have a positive affect on lowering costs and covering the uninsured.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Could Trillion Dollar Debt Kill Obama Health Care Reform?

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    2. Drew Page, IL says:

      "Obama's Health Care Reform", exactly what is that? I've seen Harry Reid's version and Nancy Pelosi's version of HCR, but what exactly has Mr. Obama drafted as "his" version of HCR?

      It is clear to most of us that he hasn't had the time or inclination to familiarize himself with either the House or Senate bills, but whatever it is and whatever it costs, as long as it can be called HCR, he is for it. Is that what is meant by "Obama's Health Care Reform" bill?

    3. Pingback: The B&R Wednesday Massachusetts Edition | Bob Parks: Black & Right 2010

    4. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      WHAT! Is this article by Kathryn Nix a joke? Is she that naive the even suggest

      that Obama, and THIS congress, are at all concerned with the cost of Obamacare or what it will do to the future of our economical stability? These

      Socialist and Marxist don't give a hoot in hell about our budeget or our Constitution, let alone what the majorty of people want. This Socialist take-over of this nation has been in the works for about 100 years. They are not about to give up when they are within inches of their goal. Obama's ego and ideology will

      never allow him to walk away WITHOUT his signature on a healthcare bill that no other president could get passed.

      people want.

    5. ann kitay fulton,tx says:

      re: headline – it should! now i'll read the article!

    6. Norma from Nebraska says:

      This President said just yesterday, "What I will NOT do" is start over which would result in another year of meetings and political posturing, so there is no indication that Obama is the least bit interested in actually doing anything on a bi-partisan basis to solve this problem.

      I have come to the conclusion that he doesn't CARE what the bill looks like that is passed as long as it gets DONE so he can move on to his next big project. He has already checked this pesky subject off of his "TO DO" list. Apparently his attention span has been exhausted on the subject of solving the health care problem and he has no interest in messing with this "bump in the road" any longer.

      In fact, from the very beginning, this president has not been an active part of this discussion. And throughout the whole process this past year, even though he has given 29+ speeches on Health Care, he didn't seem to have any clear cut idea of what was being proposed. His main message has been: this is complicated, too complicated for the common citizen to understand so you need to just go along with it and TRUST US, because WE will determine what is good for YOU!

      The whole process was tossed into the laps of the House and the Senate, with little or no guidance from the White House, and whatever Nancy and Harry came up with was going to be "just fine", no matter how bad it was. And when questioned about the need for bi-partisan input, what he said was, "We won," inferring that the House, Senate and the White House BELONG to the Democrats so they didn’t want or need input from anyone else, especially the Republicans. How can anyone treat a bill that effects 6% of our economy so casually?

      This may surprise our President and his “inner circle” in the White house, but being "dismissive, and sometimes even derisive" insults the intelligence of the American people, and we are not so low-classed that we don't know when our opinions and wishes are being disregarded. He (and they) appear to have forgotten that HE works for US!!! The message was loud and clear in Massachusetts, and still no one in the White House really heard it. In fact the President said the same anger that got Scott Brown elected got him elected President as well . . . . . WHAT?????

      We hear this man speak nearly every single day on TV, and he still doesn’t ‘get it.” I wonder if it will take someone literally beating him over the head with a 2×4 repeatedly before the truth sinks in . . . . we DON'T like this bill, and WE will NOT give in to it without a fierce fight!!!! We know a “power and control grab” when we see it, and hell will freeze over before we give up our rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

    7. Pingback: Quote Of The Day – Debt Edition | QandO

    8. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      When W attempted SS reform he got shot down by Congress. W realized the impending bankruptcy of the SS system with Medicare and Medicaid as real financial burderns. Passing Medicaid appeared to be a political move but the realtiy is that it is unfunded. Now the POTUS is attempting what W attempted but on a much grander scale -HCR. This too will fail given the enormous debt faced by our country and citizens becoming much more informed thanks to the internet and groups like the Heritage Foundation. My hope is that some changes will happen such as tort reform (is loser pays), interstate availability of all insurance carriers, and the elimination of the notion that health care is a "right."

    9. JourneyHome says:

      “Use Senate reconciliation and expand Medicare via the Senate’s buy-in provisions. The CBO has already signed off on this as a means of saving money.

      More importantly, if more Americans can do a buy-in with Medicare, it creates more cost control (because there’s a genuine “public option” competitor).

      It also helps to solve the problems of pre-existing conditions, because Medicare does not deny coverage on this basis.

      Allowing a Medicare buy-in to Americans under 65 would give people a genuine alternative to private insurance and thereby render the pre-existing question moot.

      It would also lower Medicare costs by expanding the risk pool of patients (the great bulk of medical expenses are accounted for by a small number of people, mostly the elderly, requiring very expensive treatment).

      And it would substantially enhance the global competitiveness of American corporations. After all, in what other country in the world is health care a marginal cost of production for business?” – Roosevelt Institute Marshall Auerback

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