Obamacare advocates in the White House, Congress and the newsroom of the New York Times were elated this week when a Congressional Budget Office statement said the health care reform bill by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., would cut the federal deficit by $81 billion annually. Hallelujahs ensued all around, including a Times headline proclaiming "Health care bill gets green light in cost analysis." But two words in the CBO statement -- "Preliminary Analysis" -- demonstrate that such celebrations were not only premature, but fundamentally misleading.
Yeah, you can feel that smoky air blowing up your kilt.
CBO had to qualify its observations because it was not allowed to score the actual text of the Baucus bill but rather had to rely on a legislative summary provided by Senate committee staff. So not only were CBO's analysts forced to look at language that put the bill in the best possible light, they were also denied the concrete details and precise legal wording that quite possibly could change their conclusions entirely. Such "close enough for government work" analyses suffice for Baucus and the Times, but for everybody else, by labeling its assessment as preliminary, CBO was clearly waving yellow caution flags.
Yellow flags hell, it's shooting off red flares.
Reading further, other yellow flags were present in the CBO analysis. As The Examiner's Susan Ferrechio reported Friday, enactment of the Baucus approach will add approximately $900 billion to the federal budget. That money will have to come from somewhere. Half of it will come from massive cuts in Medicare Advantage, while the other half will be generated by new taxes on high-end insurance, higher income taxes, and new levies on drugs and innovative medical devices.
Dump a bunch of costs on the states and claim it's 'savings'. Tax the ass of anyone who has what will be classed as 'high-end' insurance. You need a hip joint? A new knee? Add the taxes to the cost and you may be on a cane or in a wheelchair because you can't afford it. Or they'll- like Canada- have you on a waiting list for months, or years, which will give you time to scrape money together to pay the extra taxes.
There is another reason why the CBO's preliminary analysis should be taken with a grain of salt, though this one wasn't mentioned in the report. Whatever the content of the Baucus bill once it is voted out of the finance committee, it will disappear into a legislative black hole as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and their key aides do what they did on the economic stimulus package back in February -- huddle together behind closed doors to write the final bill, which will then be presented as a fait accompli in the form of a conference report.
And Democrats with doubts will be threatened with "You'll weaken
Socialized Medicine with the Pelosi-Reid-Obama stamp; their best chance to make our medical care so expensive and inefficient it'll make the NHS look good.