House passes $410 billion spending bill as Obama prepares $634 billion health care fund

posted at 5:03 pm on February 25, 2009 by Allahpundit

The health-care money would be provided over 10 years, so, you know, no worries. Granted, they don’t have an actual plan on how to spend it yet — but then they don’t have an economic plan yet either.

Obama would pay for the expansion by trimming tax breaks for the wealthy and tightening payments to insurers, hospitals and physicians, according to a senior administration official.

By first identifying a large pot of money to underwrite health care reform — before laying out a proposal on who would be covered or how — Obama hopes to signal his willingness to negotiate with Congress over the details of an eventual plan.

“We wanted to get this process going by putting some serious resources on the table,” said the official, who was not permitted to speak on the record until formal release of the budget blueprint. “This is a reserve fund, instead of a 700-page plan. We learned the lessons of the past and want to work interactively with Congress. This is a first step.”

This won’t pay for the whole thing, in other words. It’s a down payment, with the balance to be paid by the permanent tax increases on the middle class that are coming, as the NYT reminds us in a moment of amazing candor today. How much will that balance be, allowing for the inevitable cost overruns? Only The One, in his supreme wisdom, knows. As for the spending bill that passed the House this afternoon, there are literally almost 9,000 earmarks in it — and it still drew more than a dozen GOP votes. It’s an amazing testament to the confidence Obama and the Democrats have in their popularity right now that they’re willing to hit the public with another trillion in future spending so soon after dropping $800 billion on the stimulus and with another round of TARP on the way. Exit question: How much will that “down payment” end up ballooning to? $2 trillion? $3 trillion?

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Remember the $87 billion for Iraq the Democrats had a collective grand mal seizure over?

That was the 9 to 9:45 part of this morning.

Chuck Schick on February 25, 2009 at 7:46 PM

Ok he wants to make more money by “trimming tax breaks for the wealthy”, which means the ‘wealthy’ will just start investing off-shore more than they do already. Good job! We do need to spur on the Bahamas, Grand Caymen and Dubai. Even Mitt Romney does that and can’t understand why he can’t tax folks on money that isn’t in the US. Ahh, the subtlety of driving the economy down.

Then there is reducing services by “tightening payments to insurers, hospitals and physicians”, which is what not paying them the going rate will do.

So he will get more people on ‘health insurance’ by reducing capital in the US and making services scarcer for everyone! Good job!

If a doctor really wants to have a life, the best bet would to be to take no insurance and have each patient sign a no-fault waiver on services…. get the insurance burden on malpractice down as anyone trying to sue is in breach of contract in doing so. I do remember when the US had good hospitals run by charities, and when people took better care of themselves instead of looking for the insurance companies or government to pick up the tab… when we had a health insurance system that hadn’t run amok by having services subsidized, then payments guaranteed by government and then having government look to cut payments so as to ‘get everyone insured’. T

hat gets the problems of subsidies to where we could have over 40 million more people enrolled if insurance companies didn’t require scads of tests to remove any doubt that you might have some other disease or problem, even when a single diagnostic exam was enough for that.

And then compounded that with the tragedy of the commons where no one respects this great and good benefit because no one really has to think about it. Soon something priceless comes to have no value as no one must care for the amounts being spent, time wasted and obscene overhead necessary for doctors to make sure all the paperwork is filled out.

I do remember a time when a single doctor didn’t need a staff of three or four to barely support a practice.

Thus we end up not caring about our health, not caring what health care costs, having it available to ‘everyone’ but limited because payments aren’t enough and soon, very soon, no economy to support it. And, of course, to support limited services the cost will go up… and up… and up… to entice people into the dead-end career of caring for others by mandate.

ajacksonian on February 25, 2009 at 8:10 PM

I don’t think I can take 47 more months of this.

RadioFreeUSA on February 25, 2009 at 5:08 PM

Me neither i’ve never smoked so much in my life.

heshtesh on February 25, 2009 at 6:12 PM

47 more months! Been sober for 47 months, but looking for a nnew addiction to get me through Obama’s reign.

Kevin in Southern Illinois on February 25, 2009 at 8:21 PM

I think it’s time for a tea party……… in the type they held in Boston a couple hundred years ago.

pilamaye on February 25, 2009 at 8:21 PM

I’m disgusted and sick that my R-Rep voted FOR this mess!!!!
Well, he won’t be getting my vote next year.

cybervixen49 on February 25, 2009 at 8:24 PM

They passed the spending bill ALREADY!?! Did anyone read it either? This is ridiculous.

CP on February 25, 2009 at 8:30 PM

This, my friends, is how all great civilizations ended: Spending into oblivion.

TinMan13 on February 25, 2009 at 8:34 PM

What the hell???? This is crazy! How in the world do we stop this maddness? This just makes me sick. Somebody needs to figure out a way to stop this. Can we sue them into stopping this?

boomer on February 25, 2009 at 8:40 PM

as the NYT reminds us in a moment of amazing candor today.

Just curious Allah…do you read the NYT or Mankiw’s blog?

bluejacket on February 25, 2009 at 8:42 PM

$634 Billion is a DOWN PAYMENT on a health care “plan” that is not yet conceived.

We must be dumber than rocks.

DrStock on February 25, 2009 at 8:44 PM

Does Politco’s article update when it is linked like this? It was stated that the roll call would be added but I don’t see it. I bet I am doing it wrong.

Cindy Munford on February 25, 2009 at 8:53 PM

16 Pro-pork Republicans who voted for it:

Bono Mack
Brown-Waite, Ginny
Miller (MI)
Murphy, Tim
Young (AK

From MM site

DrStock on February 25, 2009 at 8:58 PM

DrStock on February 25, 2009 at 8:58 PM

Thank you so much. My Congressman appears to have retained his sanity.

Cindy Munford on February 25, 2009 at 9:20 PM

Anybody catch this tidbit?

For example, experts have identified hospital readmissions — especially for elderly patients — as a sign of inadequate care and unnecessary expense. About 18 percent of Medicare patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of their original visit. The new approach would establish flat fees for the first hospitalization and 30-day follow-up. Hospitals with high readmission rates would be paid less.

In other words, they’re going to throttle back care for the elderly. Screw you, greatest generation! Pass the soylent green!

But I don’t feel too sorry for the Baby Boomers, who have in large part raised the spoiled, entitled generation who’s making these decisions to knock off Mom and Dad now that they’re getting inconvenient. Sow, reap, etc.

Laura on February 25, 2009 at 10:13 PM

A different article on this same topic –

A senior administration official says Obama’s budget calls for financing the overhaul by trimming health care for the elderly spending and limiting tax deductions for upper-income earners. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the budget will be released until Thursday.

Laura on February 25, 2009 at 10:14 PM

Good luck trimming that deficit down by the end of your first term, idiot.

Grafted on February 25, 2009 at 11:32 PM

Dinosaurs meet comet.

Limerick on February 26, 2009 at 12:09 AM

I feel like I’m living in an alternate reality.

Last week Obama signs the biggest government spending bill in the history of the world. It’s loaded with wasteful spending and political payoffs.

This Monday Obama holds a “fiscal responsibility” summit at the White House.

Tuesday he gives a speech and says “it’s not because I like big government – I don’t.” (He actually, believe it or not, said this with a straight face).

Wednesday he asks for $634 billion for a down payment on health care reform. He will also be signing the $410 billion omnibus bill loaded with earmarks.

Are we living on the same planet? Do words have the same meaning anymore? Could one (just one) reporter ask him about these inconsistencies?

JohnInCA on February 26, 2009 at 12:58 AM

I was reading in the case of Cao (R-LA) he thought about voting for the stimulus bill and I guess Cantor hung out next to him till he finally voted no. He is the NOLA Republican that is the first in like 100 years. Anyway I saw him interviewed and you can tell he wants to remain a congressman so he will vote with the democrats at every turn because he heard about it after voting against the welfare payments those bloodsuckers want. The funny thing is the NOLA people will not reward him in 2010. I think that whole district is black and if they could have primaried correctly which they will next time he is done. He would be smart to use the 2 years to build his republican ties and he will have something in 2010. Being a dem for 2 years just makes him someone neither side wants.

Conan on February 26, 2009 at 2:19 AM

Ok he wants to make more money by “trimming tax breaks for the wealthy”, which means the ‘wealthy’ will just start investing off-shore more than they do already. Good job! We do need to spur on the Bahamas, Grand Caymen and Dubai. Even Mitt Romney does that and can’t understand why he can’t tax folks on money that isn’t in the US. Ahh, the subtlety of driving the economy down.

The problem is that the Patriot Act works both ways.

Never mind that some of these tax havens are quite small and very vulnerable to an “incident”.

sethstorm on February 26, 2009 at 6:30 AM


Can you imagine the gall of these people?!? We come up with a plan to TAKE the money first, THEN we’ll work out the details on how to implement our spending?!?!?

Dear farking God, what in hell is going on here? Can you even imagine running your household this way? I can just see me telling my wife that I’m going to go give some contractor $20,000 to do some job that we haven’t decided what to do yet.

These people in Congress and the Executive branch obviously DO NOT understand their role in government. Next week, perhaps they will present a bill for 200 billion to determine how Americans will wipe their asses in the future, because we all *need* that to do that too, and obviously the government has to help us figure that out.

Geministorm on February 26, 2009 at 10:14 AM

Pardonme for going even one step further than the obvious numbers that are rolled out for us to swallow without even questioning but has anyone noticed that the price for oil has jumped since Sec. Salazar announced that this administration is once again imposing the ban on off shore drilling. This administration is going to take everything you have and then replace it with “equality” that is determined by THEM. If we don’t wake up soon it will be too late. BHO knows that he has to strike very, very, very quickly while the citizenry is asleep or he won’t be able to implement his vision for America. WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!

Pardonme on February 26, 2009 at 3:43 PM