June 13, 2009

HopeChange! Health Care Reform Edition

House Health-Care Proposal Adds $600 Billion in Taxes
Health-care overhaul legislation being drafted by House Democrats will include $600 billion in tax increases and $400 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel said.

...Asked whether the cost of a health-care overhaul would be more than $1 trillion over a decade, Rangel said, “the answer is yes.” Some Senate Republicans, including Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, say the costs will likely exceed $1.5 trillion.

...Rangel said that while House Democrats will likely release more details about health policy changes in their legislation next week, the package of offsetting tax increases and spending cuts likely will come later. Democrats, he said, want to put forth the more-positive aspects of an overhaul first.

Of course. Tout the "benefits" first without mentioning the price tag until you think you've made the sale and gotten their signature on the loan papers. I thought health care reform was supposed to get costs under control! Anyone care to explain how injecting an additional $150B/yr into the system will reduce costs? When most recent estimates of insuring the uninsured were less than half that figure?

And I'm sure that seniors are going to be just thrilled about the $400B cuts to Medicare.

UPDATE: Confused? This article explains it a bit better. The idea is to cut spending on the poor and elderly, while eating taxing the rich. (Yes, you read that first part correctly.) This is supposed to provide enough in "savings" and new revenue to pay for the proposal. Apparently health care for the poor will magically cost less if we pay less for it, with no cost-shifting effect like that we've seen continuously over the last few decades. Similarly with prescriptions for the elderly. And we already knew the rich have enough money to pay for everything, right? Right?

More UPDATE: The CBO reports that the Kennedy-Dodd bill would generate over $1.0T in new deficits over a decade, while only covering one-third of the uninsured. Last I looked, cost estimates to insure ALL of the uninsured were under $100B/yr.

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