Nancy Pelosi rolled out her 1,990 page bill to overhaul the American health-care system like a Hummer on the showroom floor (and almost as heavy). Like any good car salesman, Pelosi told the press her version of the low low price! for her new model, getting a credulous press to report that the monstrosity would only cost $894 billion — and the media dutifully reported that number, as well as Pelosi’s contention that it would not bust the deficit, without any of their (Bush-era) skepticism. Last night, though, the AP discovered that Pelosi left a lot of things out of that final price, and experienced their own kind of sticker shock:
The health care bill headed for a vote in the House this week costs $1.2 trillion or more over a decade, according to numerous Democratic officials and figures contained in an analysis by congressional budget experts, far higher than the $900 billion cited by President Barack Obama as a price tag for his reform plan.
While the Congressional Budget Office has put the cost of expanding coverage in the legislation at roughly $1 trillion, Democrats added billions more on higher spending for public health, a reinsurance program to hold down retiree health costs, payments for preventive services and more.
Many of the additions are designed to improve benefits or ease access to coverage in government programs. The officials who provided overall cost estimates did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss them.
Few of us are surprised. The new AP total may not include the so-called “doctor fix” either, which would increase the Medicare rates for providers, as their original bill relied on earlier-enacted cuts to those fees for the lower overall cost number. However, even without it, only the gullible would have believed that the cost of the bill went in the opposite direction of the number of pages it took to contain it.
Essentially, Pelosi lied about the cost. When the AP attempted to get a response from Pelosi on the false number she had trumpeted earlier, they got a non-sequitur instead:
Asked about the higher estimate, Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said the measure not only insures 36 million more Americans, it provides critical health insurance reform in a way that is fiscally sound.
“It will not add one dime to the deficit. In fact, the CBO said last week that it will reduce the deficit both in the first 10 years and in the second 10 years,” Daly said.
No, that was what Pelosi said the CBO said. As the AP reports, there seems to have been something lost in the translation … which amounts to over $300,000,000,000 … and counting.
House Republicans found a few more things lost in the translation — namely, over a hundred new bureaucracies created by Pelosi’s bill:
House Republicans claimed Monday that the health care reform bill pushed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi would create a whopping 111 new “federal bureaucracies.”
In its latest attempt to portray the Democrats’ reform package as an unwieldy expansion of federal government in the health care sector, the House Republican Conference circulated what it called a list of “new boards, bureaucracies, commissions and programs” created in the House health care bill.
Among some off the new agencies, the list cites a Health Insurance Exchange; the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation; the Public Health Investment Fund; the Public Health Workforce Corps; an Assistant Secretary for Health Information; the Food and Drug Administration Office of Women’s Health; grant programs for alternative medical liability laws, infant mortality programs and other issues; and about 100 other government-sponsored creations.
Democrats scoffed, calling many of these “demonstration projects.” The problem, though, is that even demonstration projects have bureaucracies — and they have an annoying habit of becoming permanent. Do 111 “demonstration projects” belong in a bill that purports to reform an industry in order to save money?