December 16, 2009
"I will not sign [health care legislation] if it adds one dime to the deficit-now or in the future. Period....The plan I'm proposing will cost around $900 billion over ten years."
- President Obama, address to Joint Session of Congress
While the Democrat majority may attempt to assert that their health "reform" bill costs under $900 billion and will reduce the federal deficit, such statements are based solely upon a "shell game" that attempts to hide the true budgetary effects of the majority's trillions in federal government spending:
- Given that Section 1749 of the Pelosi health care bill (H.R. 3962) already included two additional quarters of an extended Medicaid bailout, and given that the current Medicaid bailout enacted in the "stimulus" does not expire until December 2010, many may view these provisions as a patently transparent attempt to reduce the size of Democrats' government takeover of health care by siphoning portions of it into other legislation-while simultaneously breaking President Obama's promise that such legislation will not increase the deficit.
- If Democrats hope to extend provisions like the COBRA subsidies and Medicaid bailout piecemeal through 2013 or 2014-when the major provisions of their "reform" bills will finally take effect-such efforts would cost much more than the $35.8 billion total in the "jobs bill." The Congressional Budget Office previously estimated that extending the COBRA subsidies and Medicaid bailouts to 2013 would cost an additional $111 billion over and above the spending included in the "stimulus" itself. However, the majority has made no attempt to offset the costs of such a federal spending binge.
- The extension of the "stimulus" provisions follows the impact of the "stimulus" itself, which included more than $150 billion in new mandatory spending on federal health care programs-while adding more than $1 trillion in spending and new interest on to the federal budget deficit.
- Although President Obama claimed his health "reform" plan would cost $900 billion, Speaker Pelosi's bill (H.R. 3962) cost far more than that-not counting the impact of all the "separate" health spending in other bills. The CBO score revealed total costs of the coverage expansion total $1.055 trillion; total federal spending under the bill approaches $1.3 trillion.
- Democrats further claimed the Pelosi bill was "deficit-neutral" by including in a separate bill (H.R. 3961) reforms to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) mechanism for Medicare physician payments-the total cost of which stands at $285 billion over ten years, according to CBO. While Members may support reform of the SGR mechanism, Democrats attempted to hide the apparent cost of health "reform" by introducing separate legislation to repeal the SGR mechanism without paying for this more than $200 billion increase in federal spending.
- Adding in the $150 billion already spent on health care in the "stimulus," the $111 billion cost of extending "stimulus" provisions, the more than $200 billion cost of Democrats' stand-alone SGR legislation, and the nearly $1.3 trillion cost of the Pelosi bill itself, the health "reform" agenda propounded by Speaker Pelosi totals more than $1.7 trillion-nearly double President Obama's targeted figure. Just as important, this big-spending legislation would further break the President's promise by increasing the deficit to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars-as Democrats are making no attempt to offset the costs of nearly half a trillion dollars in increased federal spending.
Democrats' spending binge has not gone unnoticed by America's largest federal creditor. Treasury Secretary Geithner's claims of the United States' fiscal rectitude were publicly mocked by an audience during his visit to China earlier this year, and the New York Times recently ran a front-page article noting significant Chinese skepticism about Democrats' health "reform" agenda, as "Chinese officials expect that they will help finance whatever Congress and the White House settle on." At a time of record deficits, when will Democrats stop playing shell games to mask the full cost of their government takeover of health care and start restoring fiscal discipline to Washington?
For additional information, contact:
The House Republican Conference Policy Office