They Sold us Obamacare with Lies. Now the Truth Demands that we Repeal Obamacare.

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 21st, 2011

CBO Scores Obamacare under $1 Trillion.  Just as the Democrats Hoped/Needed.

Healthcare reform ain’t cheap.  And that’s always been the greatest obstacle to getting it.  Medicare and Medicaid are going bust.  Costs are going up faster than we can raise taxes to pay for them.  And healthcare reform was just going to be more of the same.  More costs.  More taxes.  And more budget problems.

The debate of Obamacare proceeded during the greatest recession since the Great Depression.  Not the best environment for debating the creation of the greatest entitlement program we’ve ever considered making into law.  But they did.  It wasn’t going to be an easy sell.  It all depended on cost.  If the first 10 years cost less than $1 trillion, there would be hope.  And, guess what?  They did (see CBO: Health-care reform bill cuts deficit by $1.3 trillion over 20 years, covers 95% by Ezra Klein posted 3/18/2010 on The Washington Post).

According to a Democratic source, CBO has finished its work and will release the official preliminary score later today. But here are the basic numbers: The bill will cost $940 billion over the first 10 years and reduce the deficit by $130 billion during that period. In the second 10 years — so, 2020 to 2029 — it will reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion. The legislation will cover 32 million Americans, or 95 percent of the legal population.

How about that?  Less than $1 trillion.  With $60 billion to spare.  And it cut the deficit, too.  Who could ask for anything more?

How they got these numbers, and whether there are important qualifiers, will be easier to say once CBO releases its analysis. But the bottom line is that this is the exact sort of score that Democrats wanted, and is in fact considerably better than some had come to expect they would receive. Coverage is better than the Senate bill, which will reassure liberals, and deficit reduction is better than either bill, which will reassure conservatives.

When the nonpartisan CBO released its analysis, these were indeed the numbers.  Things were looking up for Obamacare.  But exactly how did they get those numbers?

Obamacare by the Numbers:  Lies, Deceit and Flimflammery.

Well, it would be awhile before anyone could answer that question.  At some 2,000 pages, the bill was complex to say the least.  So complex that those voting for it didn’t even take the time to read it.  Besides, there was no time to read it with the vote schedule to happen before the ink even had a chance to dry.  So they didn’t.  And voted.  Because as Nancy Pelosi said, they would have to pass it before learning what was in it.  And that’s exactly what they did.

Well, we now know why they rushed Obamacare into law.  Because anyone reading and understanding the details would have been furious.  To say the data the Democrats gave to the CBO were suspect would be a gross understatement.  When the CBO scored H.R. 2 (the repeal of Obamacare) it becomes clear how they got those rosy numbers (see Everything starts with repeal by Charles Krauthammer posted 1/21/2011 in The Washington Post).

“CBO anticipates that enacting H.R. 2 would probably yield, for the 2012-2021 period, a reduction in revenues in the neighborhood of $770 billion and a reduction in outlays in the vicinity of $540 billion.”

As National Affairs editor Yuval Levin pointed out when mining this remarkable nugget, this is a hell of a way to do deficit reduction: a radical increase in spending, topped by an even more radical increase in taxes.

The repeal of Obamacare will increase the deficit.  Because Obamacare included $770 billion in new taxes (i.e., revenue).  To pay for $540 billion in new spending.  High spending.  And even higher taxes.  Of course, at the time all we heard was deficit reduction.  Pretty sneaky of them.

Of course, the very numbers that yield this $230 billion “deficit reduction” are phony to begin with. The CBO is required to accept every assumption, promise (of future spending cuts, for example) and chronological gimmick that Congress gives it. All the CBO then does is perform the calculation and spit out the result.

Future spending cuts.  Like the gutting of Medicare.

In fact, the whole Obamacare bill was gamed to produce a favorable CBO number. Most glaringly, the entitlement it creates – government-subsidized health insurance for 32 million Americans – doesn’t kick in until 2014. That was deliberately designed so any projection for this decade would cover only six years of expenditures – while that same 10-year projection would capture 10 years of revenue. With 10 years of money inflow vs. six years of outflow, the result is a positive – i.e., deficit-reducing – number. Surprise.

Interesting accounting practices.  The kind that sends people to prison in the private sector.  Overstating profits by not matching costs to revenue.  If they did the accounting along GAAP, there would be no deficit reduction.  Because Obamacare actually will increase the deficit.  They’re cooking the books.  To mislead CBO.  And the American people.

If you think that’s audacious, consider this: Obamacare does not create just one new entitlement (health insurance for everyone); it actually creates a second – long-term care insurance. With an aging population, and with long-term care becoming extraordinarily expensive, this promises to be the biggest budget buster in the history of the welfare state.

When you lie, lie big.  No one risks going to prison in the private sector for stealing pennies.  If you’re going to bilk the taxpayers, make it worth the price of getting caught.  There is even the theory that if the lie is big enough most people will believe it.  Because they just can’t imagine anyone making up such a big lie.

And yet, in the CBO calculation, this new entitlement to long-term care reduces the deficit over the next 10 years. By $70 billion, no less. How is this possible? By collecting premiums now, and paying out no benefits for the first 10 years. Presto: a (temporary) surplus. As former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and scholars Joseph Antos and James Capretta note, “Only in Washington could the creation of a reckless entitlement program be used as ‘offset’ to grease the way for another entitlement.” I would note additionally that only in Washington could such a neat little swindle be titled the “CLASS Act” (for the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act).

Fool me once shame on you.  Fool me twice shame on me.  At this point, it would be safe to assume that all their financial projections are dishonest.  Why?  Because liars lie.  If we catch you making one mistake you can claim an accounting oversight.  But we’re well past that now, aren’t we?  I think the term ‘habitual’ is more appropriate.

That a health-care reform law of such enormous size and consequence, revolutionizing one-sixth of the U.S. economy, could be sold on such flimflammery is astonishing, even by Washington standards. What should Republicans do?

Make the case. Explain the phony numbers, boring as the exercise may be. Better still, hold hearings and let the CBO director, whose integrity is beyond reproach, explain the numbers himself.

Yes.  It’ll be easy.  Just do what the Democrats wouldn’t do back in March of 2010.  Show the math.  Even the people who don’t like math will understand it.  I mean, it’s only arithmetic.  Numbers in columns.  Plussing them.  And minusing them.  Simple math.  Just show the people.  They’ll get it.

To be sure, the effect on the deficit is not the only criterion by which to judge Obamacare. But the tossing around of such clearly misleading bumper-sticker numbers calls into question the trustworthiness of other happy claims about Obamacare. Such as the repeated promise that everyone who likes his current health insurance will be able to keep it. Sure, but only if your employer continues to offer it. In fact, millions of workers will find themselves adrift because their employers will have every incentive to dump them onto the public rolls.

And let’s not forget about those death panels.  They were in Obamacare.  Then out.  Then they were in Medicare.  Then out.  Where they are nobody knows.  But you know they’re there.  Because the numbers are far worse than they let us believe.  And the only way you can cut costs when you’re in the business of providing health care is to not provide as much health care.  Especially the expensive kind.  The kind that Granny needs.

This does not absolve the Republicans from producing a health-care replacement. They will and should be judged by how well their alternative addresses the needs of the uninsured and the anxieties of the currently insured. But amending an insanely complicated, contradictory, incoherent and arbitrary 2,000-page bill that will generate tens of thousands of pages of regulations is a complete non-starter. Everything begins with repeal.

Yes.  Repeal Obamacare.  Do it like removing a Band-Aid.  Quickly.  And in one stroke.

Figures don’t Lie.  But Liars Figure. 

Most legitimate polling shows the majority of people want to repeal Obamacare.  And for good reason.  They lied through their teeth to get this thing into law.  But they were even opposed to it before the vote.  There was fierce opposition at the town hall meetings.  And it took the bribing of Democrats to get the thing passed.  Most of who are out of a job now.  Because they acted against the will of their constituents.

Yet they still persist.  They keep lying.  They say that if we repeal Obamacare the economy will crash into recession.  And kill kids.  But the numbers don’t agree with this.  Neither does history.  For no one ever stimulated an economy with a massive tax increase.  And a lot of kids have survived without a national health care entitlement.  We haven’t had one all these years.  And we’ve had a lot of kids that grew into adults.  In fact, those lying to us now were all once kids.  They made it into adulthood without a national entitlement.  And others will, too.

Figures don’t lie.  But liars figure.  And they’re figuring like there is no tomorrow to keep this most unpopular law from being repealed.  Why?  Simple.  Because it’s one-sixth of the U.S. economy.  It’s not about health care.  It’s about expanding government.  And the liberal agenda.  To explode the size of the public sector.  Flood Washington in other people’s money.  So these liberals will never have to work a real job in their lifetime.

If you can think of a better idea, let me know.  But I’m sticking with this.  Because it’s always about the money.

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