Actual 10-year cost of Pelosi Plan: $1.8 trillion

posted at 1:25 pm on November 5, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Nancy Pelosi tried selling the notion that her version of ObamaCare would only cost $900 billion in the first ten years, later bumped to over $1 trillion when looking at gross costs.  Harry Reid’s Senate version promises to come in at around the same level.  However, both versions rely on three years of delay in implementing their spending plans, which allows for accrual of revenues from new taxes as well as a false sense of the real ten-year costs in the bills.  The New York Post reads the CBO report and discovers that the actual ten-year cost is twice what Pelosi claimed:

Don’t buy the claim that the Sen ate health-care bill is substantially more moderate than the House measure. While Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s legislation is even more onerous than the package created by Sen. Max Baucus and now championed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the larger story is how similar the two Democratic bills are.

First, we need to get past the misleading accounting games. Each bill is routinely “scored” for its 10-year costs from 2010-19. Yet this includes several years when the spending wouldn’t yet have kicked in. According to the Congressional Budget Office, fully 99.9 percent of the Pelosi bill’s costs would hit from 2013 onward. Similarly, 98.3 percent of Reid’s spending would come after 2014.

If you start the tally when the bills’ spending would actually start (in 2013 for the House bill and 2014 for the Senate bill), then the bills’ real 10-year costs become clear — and are remarkably similar.

The CBO reports that, in their true first 10 years, the House bill would cost $1.8 trillion, and the Senate bill would cost $1.7 trillion. Pelosi would raise Americans’ taxes by $1.1 trillion over that period, while Reid would hike them by $1 trillion.

And the House bill would siphon about $800 billion from Medicare to spend it elsewhere, while the Senate bill would suck out about $900 billion.

What does that do to the deficit?  According to the CBO, the first ten years of the Pelosi plan would add $650 billion to the deficit, while the Reid plan in the Senate would hike it by $740 billion.  And that assumes that one can count the money coming from Medicare cuts as true deficit reduction, which is arguable, since the Medicare system is already deeply in the red.

In other words, both Democrats have relied on accounting gimmicks to lie about the true costs of the bills.  This may not come as much of a shock to Hot Air readers, but the scope of the lie is simply breathtaking.  If this bill was truly cost-beneficial to the country, its advocates would not be spending this much effort to cover up its costs.


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