Saturday, October 10, 2009


In this CBO scoring of the Baucus bill, it is important to remember this is "preliminary" at best. There is no final legislative language, amounting to what Heritage calls the "Vapor Bill", but the Left has jumped all over this as a 'go ahead' for their government run health care bill.

In addition, the ever under-handed Harry Reid is about to pull a fast one. Keeping an eye on these shenanigans is critical, so keep those card and letters coming. Grassfire has fax templates and phone/fax number lists here.

The Heritage Foundation is doing one terrific job keeping us informed, and they continue with their excellent analysis:

The Tax-and-Spend Health Care Plan
by Amanda Reinecker, October 9, 2009

Earlier this week, the Congressional Budget Office released its preliminary cost estimate for the health plan put forward by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT). The plan would cost $829 billion over ten years but still reduce the deficit by $81 billion.

The White House and liberals in Congress say the report confirms President Obama's promise that big-government reforms "will help bring our deficits under control in the long term." The leftist media jumped on board, heralding the CBO's numbers as a "green light" for Obamacare.

Does it sound too good to be true? There's a good reason why: Heritage health policy expert Nina Owcharenko points out that the report is far from rosy.

  • Just a preliminary analysis. The CBO makes very clear that its analysis is based on Sen. Baucus' plain-English draft proposal. It is not based on final legislative language, so the cost estimates are subject to drastic change.

  • Real cost may be far higher. The $829 billion ten-year cost could easily underestimate the real burden. "Virtually all cost estimates of government programs underestimate the true cost," she argues. Just look at programs like Medicare, which came in about eight times more expensive than early projections.

  • 'Paid for' with new taxes. How do you turn $829 billion in spending into an $81 billion deficit reduction? In part by raising taxes. Individuals who choose not to purchase government-approved health coverage and employers who opt not to provide coverage to their employees will face heavy taxes. And new taxes on insurance companies will simply be passed on to consumers in the form of higher premiums.

  • 'Paid for' with unlikely cuts. The other way the Left would pay for this bill is by cutting Medicare. How likely are these cuts? Not very, Owcharenko says: "Traditionally, such cuts rarely come to fruition. Special interests lobby to stop any real cuts from occurring after the bill is passed."

  • Leaves millions uninsured. Despite spending $829 billion or more specifically to provide insurance to those without it, 26 million people will still lack coverage. Of those who do receive government coverage, approximately half of them will be dumped into Medicaid -- "a program sorely in need of reform itself."

"In short, the news from CBO is not good news for the American taxpayers," writes Heritage health policy analyst Dennis Smith.

The secret plan to pass Obamacare

The CBO's appealing estimates help smooth the way for the sneaky and complex legislative procedures the Left plans to use to pass Obamacare.

Heritage Senate Relations expert Brian Darling unveils the Left's "secret plan," warning that it would "railroad the bill through the Senate using a very unusual closed door procedure to craft the bill with no input from the American people."

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) has offered one way to ensure the proposal sees the light of day. He's proposed legislation requiring a 72-hour waiting period and an official cost estimate before the Senate considers any legislation.

"If Obama's promises to the American people about ethics and transparency mean anything," writes Heritage's Conn Carroll, "then he should insist on a full CBO scoring of health care" prior to any decision. Anything else would be unfair to the American people, especially when such a decision so directly affects each of us.