Health Care Costs
I have a number of colleagues who think that anyone who worries about the increased cost of health care under the new bill is either an idiot, or an ideologue.
Many of them believe, however, that anything the CBO says, or that is printed in the NYTimes, has credibility.
So, here is a past head of the CBO, writing in the NYTimes.
ON Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office reported that, if enacted, the latest health care reform legislation would, over the next 10 years, cost about $950 billion, but because it would raise some revenues and lower some costs, it would also lower federal deficits by $138 billion. In other words, a bill that would set up two new entitlement spending programs — health insurance subsidies and long-term health care benefits — would actually improve the nation’s bottom line.
Could this really be true? How can the budget office give a green light to a bill that commits the federal government to spending nearly $1 trillion more over the next 10 years?
The answer, unfortunately, is that the budget office is required to take written legislation at face value and not second-guess the plausibility of what it is handed. So fantasy in, fantasy out.
In reality, if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games and rework the calculus, a wholly different picture emerges: The health care reform legislation would raise, not lower, federal deficits, by $562 billion.
You can argue, if you want, about quality, and the advantages of more complete coverage. I may not agree, but at least those points are arguable. But you can't seriously believe that this health care bill is anything but a giant cost boondoggle, creating deficits that will affect us for the rest of our lives. This is not the sort of legacy I wanted to leave my children. "We couldn't solve the problem, and so we just charged it all on credit cards!"
UPDATE: Some interesting numbers (thanks to Angry Alex)