CBO confirms: ObamaCare with “doctor fix” will actually add billions to the deficit

posted at 6:07 pm on March 19, 2010 by Allahpundit

The exciting conclusion to yesterday’s post about what a shameless fraud the CBO numbers are. How do you slap a $940 billion pricetag on what’s actually a multitrillion-dollar bill? Well, as we’ve seen, the first thing you do is make sure not to start the program until almost halfway through CBO’s window of time for measuring how much it’ll cost. That cuts a trillion or two right off the top. But what if that still leaves you with budget deficits, thus crippling your sub-moronic talking point about how this massive new federal entitlement will save money over time?

Simple. You break the bill up and pass one of the expensive parts separately later. Here’s how a supposed $118 billion reduction in the deficit becomes another case of Obama bloat:

You asked about the total budgetary impact of enacting the reconciliation proposal (the amendment to H.R. 4872), the Senate-passed health bill (H.R. 3590), and the Medicare Physicians Payment Reform Act of 2009 (H.R. 3961). CBO estimates that enacting all three pieces of legislation would add $59 billion to budget deficits over the 2010–2019 period.

Under current law, Medicare’s payment rates for physicians’ services will be reduced by about 21 percent in April 2010 and by an average of about 2 percent per year for the rest of the decade. H.R. 3961 would increase those payment rates by 1.2 percent in 2010 and would restructure the sustainable growth rate mechanism beginning in 2011. Those changes would result in significantly higher payment rates for physicians than those that would result under current law. CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3961, by itself, would cost about $208 billion over the 2010–2019 period. (That estimate reflects the enactment of two short-term extension acts, which lowered the cost in 2010 by about $2 billion compared with CBO’s estimate of November 4, 2009.)…

CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3961 together with those two bills would add $59 billion to budget deficits over the 2010–2019 period. That amount is about $10 billion less than the figure that would result from summing the effects of enacting the bills separately. The $10 billion difference occurs primarily because H.R. 3590 and the reconciliation proposal would modify how the government’s payments to Medicare Advantage plans are set.

Still waiting to find out that if that memo urging Democrats not to talk about “doc fix” is real or not, but you can see why it’s good advice either way. Not only are they hiding another $208 billion in costs, but their dishonesty in passing doc fix separately will cost another $10 bil that could be avoided by passing everything together. Except, of course, that trying to pass everything together would send “fiscally conservative” Democrats fleeing for the hills — not because they care about a trillion-plus pricetag, but because they care that you might care. Or maybe they don’t even care about that, given the way the votes are falling today. Add Suzanne Kosmas to the roll of the shame.

More to come tonight, no doubt, in a very special edition of the Friday evening news dump.

Update: Oh look, some more hidden costs discovered by CBO. Who’s up for another $50 billion on the hook just to administer this thing?

In its March 11, 2010, cost estimate for H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as passed by the Senate, CBO indicated that it has identified at least $50 billion in specified and estimated authorizations of discretionary spending that might be involved in implementing that legislation. The authority to undertake such spending is not provided in H.R. 3590; it would require future action in appropriation bills. The attached table provides additional information about those authorizations.

Discretionary costs under PPACA would arise from the effects of the legislation on several federal agencies and on a number of new and existing programs subject to future appropriation. Those discretionary costs fall into three general categories…

Update: This is all contingent, of course, upon the Democrats actually passing doctor fix later. Oh, hey look — the AMA, which supports doc fix, just endorsed ObamaCare! Coincidencemania!


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