Just hours after President Obama restated his pledge that Democrats’ costly government-takeover of the nation’s health care system would not add “one dime to our deficits,” a new ABC News-Washington Post poll shows the American people still aren’t buying it – not even a little. And for good reason: it isn’t actually true. Now, with nearly two-thirds saying Democrats’ health care reform legislation will make the deficit worse, ABC declared that “voters are almost exactly where they were before the speech.”
House Republican Leader John Boehner commented on the new poll and the President’s boast on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that he would “own” health care legislation:
“The President may wish to ‘own’ this government-takeover of health care, but hard-working Americans know they’re the ones who are going to be paying for it in the form of higher taxes and runaway deficits. The fact that the President’s pledge hasn’t passed the American people’s smell test is just another indication of why it’s past time to scrap this misguided plan and get to work on common-sense, bipartisan health care reform legislation that our nation can afford.”
In its lead editorial Sunday, The Washington Post joined the chorus of independent voices who have debunked and dismantled the President’s so-called “dime standard:”
“Mr. Obama says he won’t add one dime to the deficit, but a lot of dimes remain unaccounted for. When politicians … don’t provide specifics – and when the amounts under discussion are in the hundreds of billions of dollars – you should get even more nervous. …Mr. Obama was vague about where the money would come from, and administration officials have since declined to provide specifics.” (9/13/09)
Well, here are some specifics: according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the House Democrats’ bill would increase the deficit by $239 billion over 10 years. And a recent study by the Lewin Group, commissioned by the non-partisan Peter G. Peterson Foundation, found that the measure would “add an estimated $1 trillion to the federal deficit” in its second 10-year period.
It’s no wonder, then, that the President’s talking points didn’t pass muster with a number of fiscal watchdogs and truth-seekers:
• “Experts doubt Obama can pay for health plan with savings. … Despite President Barack Obama’s insistence that his $900 billion health care plan won’t increase already-huge federal budget deficits, experts say that it would — unless he raised more taxes than he’s suggesting he would. …[H]e offered few details for how those savings might be achieved, and he didn’t mention the key plan — backed by Democrats in the House of Representatives — to raise revenue by imposing higher income taxes…” (McClatchy, 9/10/09)
• “FACT CHECK: Obama uses iffy math on deficit pledge. … President Barack Obama used only-in-Washington accounting Wednesday when he promised to overhaul the nation’s health care system without adding "one dime" to the deficit. By conventional arithmetic, Democratic plans would drive up the deficit by billions of dollars.” (AP, 9/10/09)
The American people know a raw deal when they see one, and it’s as clear as ever that the Democrats’ costly government takeover of health care is just that. Meanwhile, House Republicans are offering better solutions to make quality health care more affordable and accessible for every American. These common-sense reforms will fix what’s broken without breaking what works.