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Obamacare: how much will it really cost?

March 20, 2010

This is a follow-up to my March 17 column, “The pig bomb.” The House of Representatives is supposed to vote on healthcare legislation tomorrow, Sunday, March 21, and the Democrats are crowing about the “score” they got from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) two days ago.

According to the CBO, Obamacare as currently modified by Nancy Pelosi’s “reconciliation proposal” will reduce the federal budget by $138 billion over its first ten years. If you believe the federal government will legislate a huge new entitlement program and it will somehow save us money, you’re either dumb as a rock or… oh hell, let’s face it, you’re dumb as a rock.

Remember what I said in “The pig bomb” about how the CBO works: they are required to answer the questions as they are asked, no matter how stupid the assumptions and limitations included in the question. In fact, over the last couple of years the Democrats have become so dishonest in how they phrase questions to the CBO that analyses from the CBO are barely worth the paper on which they’re printed.

In this case, the strangest assumption of all was Pelosi’s requirement that 2010 be the initial year in the “first ten years.” Last year, when it was 2009, 2010 was the first year of the CBO’s first ten years, so you would think that one year later the new first year would be 2011. After all, it’s fairly obvious that the first full year under the new legislation would be 2011 at the earliest, right? Since it’s already almost April? And even if they pass this monstrosity in the next couple of weeks we wouldn’t really see much in the way of changes for a while?

This isn’t rocket science, for crying out loud.

So when the CBO mentions a $138 billion reduction of the federal deficit, one of those years doesn’t really count. But wait! The lie is much worse than that, because while the increased taxes included in Obamacare start immediately, most of the health insurance provisions which actually cost money don’t start until 2014.

Got that? The slimy bastards start collecting additional taxes now, but don’t provide any meaningful change in health coverage until later. If Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama were operating in the private sector, we’d arrest them for fraud.

The Weekly Standard does a nice job of explaining the real numbers for Obamacare’s real first ten years. This legislation will cost between $2.5 and $3.0 trillion in its first ten years of full implementation, and the Democrats plan to pay for this gargantuan increase in government expenditures by one, raising our taxes by $1 trillion, two, cutting Medicare by $1.1 trillion, and three, saving money by not passing the “doc fix” legislation which raises the fees paid to doctors by Medicare. Even that’s not the whole story, because Caterpillar tractor announced that Obamacare will cost them $100 million dollars in the first year alone, so apparently there are billions of dollars in expenses which are designed to be borne by employers in the private sector, which in turn will pass those costs down to the rest of us by raising their prices, reducing their employees, and lowering the wages they pay.

Just groovy.

The “doc fix” issue has become a joke, and provided us with another example of Pelosi’s unsurpassed stupidity. A memo circulated this week which was ostensibly from Democrats telling party members not to admit that the “doc fix” would happen after Obamacare is passed. Why? Because it would look bad to be crowing about the CBO score at the same time that they have plans to completely change the assumptions upon which the score is based. They would be bragging about saving $300-400 billion while secretly making plans to spend that $300-400 billion. Gee whiz, that would be a lie, doggone it.

The Democrats denied that the memo came from them. That was fine – normal stonewalling when politicians are caught doing something wrong – and the whole issue might have blown over if, in the process of talking about the issue, Nancy Dumbass hadn’t admitted the whole scam:
“Well, we have been including it in legislation for a long time, because it's not about a doctor fix, it's about our seniors or anyone who relies upon Medicare to have access to physicians, that they be in their region and in their program. So this is again, you call it the doctor fix, but it is really about access to health care for Americans. It's not in this bill, but we will have it soon. And we have made a commitment to do this. This is very important.”
So there you have it, Pelosi admitting that nearly half a trillion dollars of “savings” being counted by Democrats to make Obamacare seem affordable will be erased “soon.” This is a good example of the trouble with being a chronic liar – you get lost in your own fictional world.

She got caught telling yesterday’s lie today.

The $1.1 trillion in Medicare “savings” particularly irks me because I have 91-year-old parents and the idea that these nasty, dishonest little creeps in D.C. will be balancing their books on the backs of my parents drives me right up the wall. The cuts to Medicare include cuts in what they will pay to hospitals, cuts in the wildly popular Medicare Advantage program, cuts in home health care reimbursements, cuts in payments for wheelchairs, cuts in payments for imaging (Hey, old people don’t need MRI’s do they? What a waste!), and “savings” generated by increasing Medicare premiums.

So the plan is to charge more for a lower level of benefits, the message being, “Screw you, old people!”

To give you another example of how the CBO game works, all those Medicare cuts were still not enough, apparently, so they plugged in an extra $13.3 billion of undetermined savings which will be found by a federal board set up specifically to find $13.3 billion of savings.

Now that’s a solid $13.3 billion we can count on, right?
“Dear CBO, tell us what Obamacare will cost if we find $13.3 billion dollars of mysterious, nonexistent, undetermined savings by creating a federal board comprised of my idiot nephew’s idiot wife and Harry Reid’s semi-comatose cousin who lives in the Las Vegas drainage tunnels and a few other hard-to-employ relatives of loyal Democrats. Sincerely, Nancy Pelosi.”

“P.S. As long as we’re making assumptions, assume that we save a couple hundred billion dollars by stopping fraud, innovating like crazy, simplifying administration, and magically improving efficiency… since we all know that nobody stops fraud, innovates, simplifies, and improves efficiency like the federal government! If all that still doesn’t get us a positive score, let me know and we’ll invent some more shit.”
For two weeks the world waited for the Democrats to have a vote on Obamacare, and the rumor was that they kept getting bad scores from the CBO, so they kept increasing the number of ludicrous assumptions and rephrasing the questions they were asking the CBO to analyze until they finally got a positive score on Thursday.

Now you have an idea of how that CBO score was attained and what that CBO score is worth.

From Reno, Nevada, USA

March 22, 2010 - THERE IS REVERSE RACISM IN THE WHITE HOUSE!!!! Proof and point: the health care scam bill includes a tax on TANNING SALONS!!!! There is not one God Damn Fuckin politician who can look me in the eye and tell me that this is not a tax directed solely at White People!! Who else patronizes TANNING SALONS???? So basically they think that white people are the only ones who should be paying yet another tax to cover this PIG of a health care bill. Are they serious???? - Domme Yankee, Connecticut
J.P. replies: I wish taxes on tanning salons was the only weird thing in this legislation. The Democrats also thought it was a good idea to slap an extra tax on prosthetics and wheelchairs... I guess they decided artificial arms and wheelchairs were getting too darned inexpensive. Can you imagine what the mainstream media would be saying if Republicans decided to pick on cripples and amputees?

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