Saturday, January 08, 2011

Whom are you going to believe - Pelosi or your lying eyes?

It's always been ridiculous, just on the face of it, to think that the federal government could extend a massive entitlement to millions of people, yet spend less money doing so. But that is what the Pelosi and Obama Democrats would have you believe.

The WSJ explains this
once again for those who haven't been paying attention for the past year and a half.
The accounting gimmicks are legion, but we'll pick out a few: It uses 10 years of taxes to fund six years of subsidies. Social Security and Medicare revenues are double-counted to the tune of $398 billion. A new program funding long-term care frontloads taxes but backloads spending, gradually going broke by design. The law pretends that Congress will spend less on Medicare than it really will, in particular through an automatic 25% cut to physician payments that Democrats have already voted not to allow for this year.
That is why talk of the doc fix is relevant. They computed the cost of Obamacare based on the lower reimbursement rates to doctors who treat Medicare patients even though they know that they are going to implement a "fix" every year to keep the higher reimbursement rates.

And of course, the accounting methods used to figure out the costs of the program in the future don't figure in all the private companies that will decide to drop their coverage and send their employees onto the government plans just exploding all those projections for how many people will need to be covered.

Have we ever had an entitlement program that ended up costing as much as it was projected to?
But our core appeal isn't to this technical detail or that underlying assumption. It's to common sense. Amid the repeal debate, Democrats and the media are behaving as if they have no knowledge of Congress's habits or the history of government health-care programs over the last half-century. Entitlements are always sold as modest and "paid for," then years later everyone suddenly discovers that they are "unaffordable" without digging deeper into the pockets of the middle class. How do you think Medicare and Medicaid got to their current pass?

The government can't subsidize coverage for tens of millions of new people and simultaneously reduce the deficit, as most Americans seem to intuitively understand. The real offense Republicans are committing in the eyes of Washington is exposing its illusions.
Democrats planned their program and did the accounting based on fantasy and outright dishonest assumptions. And now they're asking us us to believe their lies instead of our own common sense.