FROM the congressional chutzpah department: Democrats say Republicans will balloon the deficit by repealing the new trillion-dollar federal health care program.
There's nothing wrong with your eyes: Dems claim that retracting Obamacare, which will spend about $1 trillion over the next decade, will add $230 billion to the deficit between by 2021. They cite a Congressional Budget Office analysis, but it's an inside-the-Beltway shell game. Watch closely.
First, savings credited to Obamacare are based on data given to CBO numbers crunchers by the program's proponents. CBO can only run estimates with the data it receives. Garbage in, garbage out.
Only if you believe Obamacare is going to save money — as it adds 32 million people to the insurance rolls — would repealing the program increase the deficit.
The idea that Obamacare will save money is crazy. Writing for National Review Online, former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin noted that in tasking CBO to project Obamacare's price tag, proponents omitted $115 billion in implementation costs, counted $70 billion in premiums for long-term care insurance while ignoring the benefits it will pay out, and pretended that more than $450 billion in reimbursement cuts to Medicare providers will occur when everyone in Washington knows they won't.
Only through such budgetary gimmicks does Obamacare look like it would save money. “What they have is a piece of paper … they manipulated to say this thing reduces the deficit,” Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and the new Budget Committee chairman, told radio host Mark Levin recently. “I will eat my tie if that is the outcome of this law.”
Ryan's tie is safe. The Republican House is headed for a successful vote to repeal Obamacare. And even if Democrats block repeal in the Senate or if President Obama vetoes it, no program this unpopular figures to last long.
Even if Obamacare somehow survived, all the costs “hidden” by Democrats to gain a favorable analysis from CBO eventually will surface. They simply must.
Medicare providers will have to be fairly paid or they'll abandon those patients. Benefits under long-term care insurance will be claimed. Projected revenues from a tax on high-end health care, the kind some unions offer their members, are unlikely to be realized because the unions won't stand for it.
Democrats' attempts to tar Republicans as budget busters for trying to repeal this behemoth are silly, disingenuous. But then, Obamacare rumbled through Congress, over bipartisan opposition, with considerable help from sleight-of-hand.
If taxpayers get the feeling they have to parse every word that comes from Obamacare's defenders, they're right.