House pushes $1 trillion health care reform bill

Posted on July 14, 2009

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Democrats in the House, despite rumbles of discontent among the GOP and their own, unveiled their proposal today, vowing to push it through before the August recess. After all the talk about wanting bipartisan consensus, President Barack Obama is now apparently content to pass the bill with no Republican support at all, a move which may make his most loyal followers happy but spells trouble for any hope of moderating the bill or ensuring the final product reflects a centrist view of governance that will prove amenable to a majority of Americans.

It’s not going to be cheap – the CBO scored the bill as costing $1 trillion over 10 years. It might be really over 5 years, as 83% of the spending doesn’t start until 2015. Here’s the graph of spending from the American Spectator:

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The CBO estimate is a lowball by its own admission. Their caveats, picked up by Michelle Malkin, include not factoring in administrative costs and not yet fully analyzing whether the bill’s language regarding insurance coverage matches a previous version of the bill. In any case, any estimate is going to be lower than the actual cost – one need only look at the inception of Social Security and Medicare to see that the promised costs were ridiculously low.

The bill will be partially payed for by a hike in taxes for the rich, continuing a trend of legislators seeing the wealthy as an unlimited natural resource. 

Problem is, the wealthy are either going to be taxed out of their wealth or leave the country, or what is more likely, the money from the rich won’t be enough. It all means that inevitably all our taxes are going to go up because of the cost, which won’t be felt in the near-term to create a nice safe feeling until the spending ramps up years down the road. At that point we’ll have another unsustainable entitlement along the lines of Social Security and Medicare.

It’s still not a done deal. Nancy Pelosi still has to win over members of her own party, including the Blue Dog Democrats, so we may yet have a little breathing room. The public option undoubtedly figures prominently in this bill, which will only serve to drive out private insurers and force Americans to take the government-run health plan. This is a mammoth growth of government bureaucracy that will destroy consumer choice, further increase our debt, and will still leave our health care system in shambles.

It’s my hope this bill is defeated. We will have to see.

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Posted in: News, Politics