November 17, 2009
"We have grave concerns that the real effect of the provisions would be to create a new federal entitlement program with large, long-term spending increases that far exceed revenues. This is especially the case if savings from the first decade of the program are spent on other health reform priorities."
- Letter by seven Democratic Senators to Majority Leader Reid, October 23, 2009
While the majority may attempt to assert that Speaker Pelosi's government takeover of health care is fiscally responsible, even Democrats themselves doubt the Speaker's assertions:
- In order to achieve deficit neutrality, the Pelosi bill (H.R. 3962) relies on more than $70 billion in revenue from a new program for long-term care services. As the long-term care program requires individuals to pay premiums for five years before becoming eligible for benefits, the Pelosi bill diverts this initial program revenue to finance a government takeover of health care.
- As noted above, moderate Democrats wrote to Majority Leader Reid objecting to this new entitlement's inclusion in the health care legislation he continues to write behind closed doors. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) went further, calling the program a "Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing Bernie Madoff would have been proud of."
- In the letter quoted above, Democrats opposed the concept of using revenues from the long-term care program in order to finance a government takeover of health care-as doing so would be fiscally unsustainable. By their own logic, these same Democrats should oppose using $400-500 billion in Medicare savings to create a new health care entitlement.
- Speaker Pelosi's government takeover of health care would lead to exactly the type of "large, long-term spending increases" the moderate Democrat senators most fear. The Congressional Budget Office has already confirmed that the Pelosi bill would increase the federal budgetary commitment to health care by $598 billion in its first decade alone-and by greater sums in the years following 2019.
While many may welcome moderate Democrats' fiscal rectitude with respect to the long-term care entitlement, many may similarly question why these same Democrats refuse to question the bigger "Ponzi scheme"-diverting hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare to finance Speaker Pelosi's $1.3 trillion government takeover of health care.
For additional information, contact:
The House Republican Conference Policy Office