Thursday, March 19, 2009

11 Trillion and Counting

Yep, America's looking at $11 trillion dollars of debt.

So far.

And we're just getting started on key "reform" in health care with a "$634 billion dollar reserve fund."
"By first identifying a large pot of money to underwrite health-care reform -- before laying out a proposal on who would be covered or how -- Obama hopes to draw Congress to the bargaining table to tackle the details of a comprehensive plan.
And so Congress, with their special interest constituents, headed to the Health Care Summit on Capital Hill in March like bees to honey.

Look at them. Didn't they look sincere? Certainly their conflicts of interest had nothing to do with their dazzled enthusiasm, right?

But why does the White House's own website claim:
"A Commitment to Fiscal Responsibility: Barack Obama will pay for his $50 - $65 billion health care reform effort by rolling back the Bush tax cuts for Americans earning more than $250,000 per year and retaining the estate tax at its 2009 level."
Wait. Isn't the tab already an order of magnitude higher at $634 billion?

Could the White House's own website be understating the real costs of health care reform? If so, where else will the money be coming from?

Perhaps our Congressmen should look at the upcoming budget for health care reform a little bit closer before moving forward with blanket handouts, otherwise, they might become just as blind-sided as they've been when we learned that AIG's bonuses were guaranteed in the unread Stimulus Package they passed.


Addendum - 20 March 2009 16:41pm: Senator Dodd: "Oops."


shadowfax said...

Um, you might want to get a little more info before ranting. Not that I haven't gotten out there in front of the facts from time to time...

The $634 Billion was over ten years time (it was a ten-year budget plan that included this carve-out) and was estimated to provide (wait for it) ... $50-65 billion per year during this time frame! So that order of magnitude difference you saw was in fact quite real and intentional.

Now the missing link is that the consensus estimate cost of universal coverage is closer to $100 billion annually (the Lewin report notwithstanding), so even the Obama administration admits that they have not found the full funding. They have characterized this as a significant "down payment" and left it to Congress to com up with the rest of the cash. There was a new report out (kinda scary) from the Lewin group, a nonpartisan respected think tank, the other day that implied that we might be looking at $150 Billion annually for universal coverage. Now *that* would put a hole in the budget!

DrWes said...


The White House's own website does not clarify the budgetary distinction that you highlight. I fully understand your point, but the disingenous nature of the spin makes it seem like we've got it all figured out when, in fact, we have no clue where the money will come from, how much it will cost, and (worse) to whom it will flow and how it will be used.

I worry that making policy by dangling the gigantic $634 billion in front of the "important stakeholders" was a straw dog that the administration used to get everyone together to make it appear there's broad consensus that health care needs reform RIGHT NOW without any clue what it will take to make it happen in the name of having "universal health care." (Or might it be that the senatorial Board of Directors have already written the legislation and we're following their Grand Plan???...)

Why people couldn't bid proposals with their line-item budgets BEFORE the money is hung before them (like the every other business vying for government funds) is beyond me. At least this would be a fiscally sound policy. But then again, money sure motivates people doesn't it?

Too bad taxpayers have no idea where all that money will be going... But it will all be gooood, right? Really it will....