Deficit commission: ObamaCare savings are a myth

posted at 10:55 am on December 2, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

AOL Opinons editor John Merline notes that the deficit commission titled its proposal “The Moment of Truth,” and perhaps rarely for a government effort, it actually delivers on its advertising.  The report exposes six truths about the federal government and its spending addiction.  Perhaps even more importantly, it exposes a couple of key myths about the Obama administration and its agenda:

2) Health reform’s cost savings apparently were bogus. Remember how Democrats boasted that health reform would cut the budget deficit by $170 billion over the next decade and far more after that? The deficit commission must not have gotten that memo. It says health spending projections under the new law “count on large phantom savings” and the reform law’s new long-term care program that the report calls “unsustainable.” As a result, Congress will still need to enact “a number of other reforms to reduce federal health spending and slow the growth of health care costs more broadly.” …

5) Obama is a big spender. Although President Barack Obama has talked about fiscal discipline — and set up this deficit commission — his own budget plan would spend $350 billion more on so-called discretionary programs over the next decade than if the government were just left on autopilot, according to the report.

My goodness — does this mean that Obama isn’t really a “Blue Dog Democrat“?  Perhaps the media might also notice that the deficit explosion coincided with the FY2009 budget that Obama helped delay as a member of the Senate and signed as an omnibus in March 2009 as President, too.  It would be nice to see the “I inherited this deficit” myth exploded as well.

The supposed cost savings in ObamaCare have been repeatedly exposed as mythical, even during the debate prior to its passage.  The “doc fix” that amended the reimbursement rates settled that question, but even apart from that, the assumptions built into the plan were always based on the rosiest perfect-world scenarios.  We have already seen private-sector employers act to dump retirees out of prescription coverage in far larger numbers than pre-passage estimates, which will create heavier burdens on Medicare.  Employers will also eventually stop buying health insurance altogether — especially if Congress adopts the debt commission’s proposal to end the tax exemption on that compensation.  Employees will demand that compensation in cash rather than taxable health subsidies in order to take advantage of the tax-financed subsidies in the health exchanges mandated by ObamaCare.  Expect the system to spiral into the deep end of the red-ink pool when that happens.

Merline also notes that the recommendations from the panel are not really all that tough on anyone, which demonstrates just how easy it has been all along to achieve deficit and debt reduction.  It’s actually even easier than he thinks, as Nick Gillespie explains in his PG-13 response to Fareed Zakaria’s demand to hike taxes:

It’s a simple, plain, and nearly universally unacknowledged fact that the feds haven’t been able to raise revenue much past the 19 percent of GDP bar for any period of time since World War II. Doesn’t matter the the top marginal rate is, or the bottom, or nothing. The government is going to pull in just under 19 percent maximum. Some years it might be a bit higher and some a bit lower, but it ain’t budging over the long haul (defined as the last 60 or so years). That is the limit of what we can spend if we want to have a balanced budget. Obama’s own budget projections have the feds spending more than 22 percent of GDP each year over the next decade. You do the math. …

We are in debt because we spend too much, not because we make too little as a country. Let’s say it again, this time in bold: We are in debt because we spend too much, not because we make too little as a country.

Fareed Zakaria, who surely makes well north of $250,000 a year, is welcome to give all his income to a government that has only managed a nominally balanced budget a handful of times since we beat the Axis powers.

But can he have the generosity not to include the rest of us who make far south of a quarter-mil a year in his delusion that higher taxes will mean smaller deficits?

We need a government that can operate within its means.  A level of 19% of GDP is actually rather generous; that’s one dollar out of every five earned by Americans.  A flat-rate tax system could guarantee that level of funding and no more, and would force Congress to do what every household must on a daily basis: prioritize and spend wisely.  It would also then highlight the real problem in federal deficits, which isn’t revenue at all but runaway spending.


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My, this was “unexpected” NOT!

Bevan on December 2, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Amazing how politicians can actually say difficult things and some semblance of the truth, once they are no longer in office.

Webrider on December 2, 2010 at 10:59 AM

The only ones believing the myths were elitists and their cohorts in the media.

Herb on December 2, 2010 at 11:00 AM

..as ed would say, “Oh my!”

It seems that President Fat Lip’s commission’s chickens are coming home to roost. Be careful what you wish for, Bay-rack.

The War Planner on December 2, 2010 at 11:00 AM

The prescient Robert A. Heinlein said it long ago and best: “TINSTAAFL” Yet, the elites and especially lying power/rent seeking politicians always promise there is.

Webrider on December 2, 2010 at 11:04 AM

In other words, all that B.S. that Pelosi, Hoyer, Reid, and the rest of the Democrat ilk were throwing about on all those big savings Obamacare would bring was just that, namely B.S.!

pilamaye on December 2, 2010 at 11:05 AM

2) Health reform’s cost savings apparently were bogus. Remember how Democrats boasted that health reform would cut the budget deficit by $170 billion over the next decade and far more after that? The deficit commission must not have gotten that memo. It says health spending projections under the new law “count on large phantom savings” and the reform law’s new long-term care program that the report calls “unsustainable.” As a result, Congress will still need to enact “a number of other reforms to reduce federal health spending and slow the growth of health care costs more broadly.” …
5) Obama is a big spender. Although President Barack Obama has talked about fiscal discipline — and set up this deficit commission — his own budget plan would spend $350 billion more on so-called discretionary programs over the next decade than if the government were just left on autopilot, according to the report.

N-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Khun Joe on December 2, 2010 at 11:08 AM

But healthcare is now free. Funny that the racists on the so-called “Deficit Commission” didn’t point that out.

Bishop on December 2, 2010 at 11:09 AM

As a result, Congress will still need to enact “a number of other reforms to reduce federal health spending and slow the growth of health care costs more broadly.” …

Obama & his ilk lied….
Now granny has to die….

Badger40 on December 2, 2010 at 11:10 AM

The prescient Robert A. Heinlein said it long ago and best: “TINSTAAFL” Yet, the elites and especially lying power/rent seeking politicians always promise there is.

Webrider on December 2, 2010 at 11:04 AM

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress – Heinlein, USNA ’29

WordsMatter on December 2, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Bishop on December 2, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Nothing in life is free, it’s getting paid for by someone somewhere. I’ll just look at my paycheck after the first of the year. When the Bush Tax Cuts for the Rich expire I’m sure my paycheck will be bigger because all those rich fatcats will be paying more so I can pay less.

Tommy_G on December 2, 2010 at 11:14 AM

Ya know, Glenn Beck is screaming about communists taking over the US government, for months and months, years and years. Then one day, unexpectedly, there is a news story about communists taking over the US government. . . . .

duh..ah…ya, and so? Ok, now what?

Skandia Recluse on December 2, 2010 at 11:15 AM

As a result, Congress will still need to enact “a number of other reforms to reduce federal health spending and slow the growth of health care costs more broadly.” …

Death. Panels.

rbj on December 2, 2010 at 11:16 AM

GRIDLOCK! It’s what the founders intended!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on December 2, 2010 at 11:16 AM

Damn … I was hoping they were going to say Obama is a myth.

darwin on December 2, 2010 at 11:16 AM

obama lied children died….(for lack of healthcare)

right4life on December 2, 2010 at 11:16 AM

“If you like your plan you can keep your plan” Proven false.

“If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor” Proven false.

“Obamacare will cut the budget deficit” Proven false.

Either this administration is chock full of economic illiterates (possible) or they’re straight-up liars. Which one is it?

It says health spending projections under the new law “count on large phantom savings” and the reform law’s new long-term care program that the report calls “unsustainable.”

This word “unsustainable” is being thrown around a lot lately in terms of government spending and entitlements. Does anyone pause for a moment and actually consider what the term means in this context? It means collapse. But let’s not worry about it. That might be considered “paranoid” or perhaps “fear mongering.”

visions on December 2, 2010 at 11:18 AM

Don’t you just hate it when you set up an “Independent Commission” to reinforce your lies, and the go and tell the truth.

Slowburn on December 2, 2010 at 11:18 AM

My goodness — does this mean that Obama isn’t really a “Blue Dog Democrat“? 

Nonsense. Obama campaigned on a platform of fiscal responsibility, good-government centrism and post-partisan civility, then once securely in office pushed a shrilly hyper-partisan agenda of hard-left policy and gluttonous spending. That makes him the very model of a modern Blue Dog Democrat.

Fabozz on December 2, 2010 at 11:18 AM

Greek gods are myths…Obamacare savings are LIES.

Quit sugarcoating it you jackwads.

ornery_independent on December 2, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Who cares?

Anyone read the drudge report?

We’re bailing out Europe, all our money and wealth are going to keep the progressive islamic wonderland afloat for a couple more months.

Nothing this “commission” can possibly do can save us 1% of what that’s going to cost us.

Rebar on December 2, 2010 at 11:19 AM

duh..ah…ya, and so? Ok, now what?

Skandia Recluse on December 2, 2010 at 11:15 AM

I’m reading this book now.
Very interesting.
Also have read Whitaker Chamber’s book Witness.
Unbelievable that this was ever allowed to happed right under everyone’s nose.

Badger40 on December 2, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Does this mean Obama is not going to pay my mortgage and put gas in my car?

Haiku Guy on December 2, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Um, should it really be called a “myth” when the only ones who believe the unfounded or false notion are the ones telling the story?

Dusty on December 2, 2010 at 11:22 AM

It will be argued that the cure for ObamaCare is a single payer system. This is why Obama didn’t fight harder for the “public option”. Replacing the current (at the time)system with a more centralized plan was the goal. When things get worse blame it on the lack of the “public option” which by this time the only choice is for the government not to “compete” but take over entirely.

cartooner on December 2, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Now that was a good episode of Mythbusters. Is this why Obama is appearing in next week’s episode?

WashJeff on December 2, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Either this administration is chock full of economic illiterates (possible) or they’re straight-up liars. Which one is it?

visions on December 2, 2010 at 11:18

I strongly vote for the later..they are a pack of thieving LIARS!

belad on December 2, 2010 at 11:26 AM

President palin can truly say she inherited this mess from dear leader

cmsinaz on December 2, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Um, should it really be called a “myth” when the only ones who believe the unfounded or false notion are the ones telling the story?

Dusty on December 2, 2010 at 11:22 AM

that’s a great question.

ted c on December 2, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Obama sets up a new commission to cut the deficit. The commission will cost $1 trillion dollars.

lorien1973 on December 2, 2010 at 11:29 AM

..as ed would say, “Oh my!”

It seems that President Fat Lip’s commission’s chickens are coming home to roost. Be careful what you wish for, Bay-rack.

The War Planner on December 2, 2010 at 11:00 AM

/chuckles…

ornery_independent on December 2, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Does this mean Obama is not going to pay my mortgage and put gas in my car?

Haiku Guy on December 2, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Obama is here
Free stuff for all who need it
God help all of us

Tommy_G on December 2, 2010 at 11:29 AM

GRIDLOCK! It’s what the founders intended!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on December 2, 2010 at 11:16 AM

Aw, shucks!

gridlock2 on December 2, 2010 at 11:30 AM

So why isn’t repealing it in their recommendations?

Vashta.Nerada on December 2, 2010 at 11:31 AM

No really? I guess bending the cost curve down was just lies? Keeping your doctor, just lies.

Wouldn’t it be easy to just tell us what wasn’t a lie?

The Debt Commission, and unsanctioned Obama mouthpiece is totally meaningless … It’s all about Obama trying to make you believe his debt needs to raise taxes — When in fact we need to cut federal spending.

tarpon on December 2, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Obama is here
Free stuff for all who need it
God help all of us

Tommy_G on December 2, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Of you think Health Care
Is expensive at this time,
Just wait ’till it’s free.

Haiku Guy on December 2, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Not so much a “myth”…
Really much more of a “lie”.
No one believes it.

Haiku Guy on December 2, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Fascinating graph here that shows no matter what the personal income tax rate is, government revenue seems to have a hard limit of about 19%.

Reality Isn’t Negotiable: The Government Can’t Raise More than 19% in Taxes for Long

slickwillie2001 on December 2, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Greek gods are myths…Obamacare savings are LIES.

ornery_independent on December 2, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Yep. Not too long ago there was a person standing between Greek columns and wooing the audience. He was looked upon as a god…at least someone that stepped down to take the presidency.
“Bacchus” Hussein Obama

Electrongod on December 2, 2010 at 11:39 AM

So where is that ‘$500B’ in savings from eliminating ‘fraud, waste, and abuse’ from Medicare? We were led to believe that the day Obamacare was signed off, we would realize those savings.

slickwillie2001 on December 2, 2010 at 11:40 AM

It would also then highlight the real problem in federal deficits, which isn’t revenue at all but runaway spending.

By an over-sized government.

FIFY

GarandFan on December 2, 2010 at 11:40 AM

which isn’t revenue at all but runaway spending.

Is Ed Morrisey agreein to the a country girl named Sarah Palin?

I though Ed Morrisey is more classy like Rollins?

/just provoking Ed to write something about the topic. Go Ed!

TheAlamos on December 2, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Health reform’s cost savings apparently OBVIOUSLY were bogus.

FIFY

Obama is a big spender.

It’s State The Obvious Day!!!! All those words when a simple “Duh” would suffice.

CantCureStupid on December 2, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Haiku Guy on December 2, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Keep them coming, I really enjoying this exchange. Perhaps next time I’ll reply to you with a Grook.

Tommy_G on December 2, 2010 at 11:48 AM

So why isn’t repealing it in their recommendations?

Vashta.Nerada on December 2, 2010 at 11:31 AM

More Band Aids for a sucking chest wound.

Badger40 on December 2, 2010 at 11:50 AM

But we had to pass it so we could find out what’s in it instead of actually reading it and seeing it for the disaster it is… which, thanks to hot Air and others, we did and saw it for what it was. Sadly Congress couldn’t be bothered to either read it or if they did know what it was felt the need to use the Constitution as toilet paper and pass it anyways.

And to think so many Democrats

Yakko77 on December 2, 2010 at 11:56 AM

Anything the govt. does is based on how much more power it can have over its citizens.

albill on December 2, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Either this administration is chock full of economic illiterates (possible) or they’re straight-up liars. Which one is it?

visions on December 2, 2010 at 11:18

I vote “Yes.” Marxists are economic illiterates who intentionally lie in order to gain power.

rbj on December 2, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Hummmmmm… and the award goes to…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1DEG6BWgp0

roflmao

donabernathy on December 2, 2010 at 12:10 PM

So why isn’t repealing it in their recommendations?

Vashta.Nerada on December 2, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Great question! But who in the MFM will have the cahones to ask it?

ornery_independent on December 2, 2010 at 12:11 PM

The Deficit Commission is Racist.

franksalterego on December 2, 2010 at 12:14 PM

Governot-elect Rick Scott (R-FL) going head-2-head w/ Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Lusional) yesterday over the issue of repealing ObamaCare.

Health care fight breaks out in meeting with Rick Scott, Florida delegation

This is why we elected (and I campaigned for) Rick Scott to be our next Governor. :)

ornery_independent on December 2, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Deficit commission: ObamaCare savings are a myth.

This is not unexpectedly expected, nor unprecedentedly precedented.

A government program that results in cost savings would be unexpectedly unprecedented.

rukiddingme on December 2, 2010 at 12:19 PM

ObamaCare savings are a myth

WHAT????

You say that a bill which provides for 16,000 NEW IRS AGENTS, Hordes of new agencies and boards, Major electronic filing systems, etc., etc…..actually costs MORE???? Even though it REDUCES Medicare benefits and steals $500 Billion from Medicare to provide for Democrat slush funds???

DUH!!!!!

landlines on December 2, 2010 at 12:41 PM

The only ones believing the myths were elitists and their cohorts in the media.

Herb on December 2, 2010 at 11:00 AM

And more than a few HA posters.

Del Dolemonte on December 2, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Well, there goes Erskine’s invite to the White House Christmas party!

Mr. Bingley on December 2, 2010 at 1:33 PM

It will be argued that the cure for ObamaCare is a single payer system. This is why Obama didn’t fight harder for the “public option”. Replacing the current (at the time)system with a more centralized plan was the goal. When things get worse blame it on the lack of the “public option” which by this time the only choice is for the government not to “compete” but take over entirely.

cartooner on December 2, 2010 at 11:24 AM

No surprise, Obama told us he wants a one payer plan; his commission said that they were creating the situtation that would result in a one payer plan replacing the Obamacare plan that will as expected, result in collaspe of the health insurance industries. We will have no choice at that point.

The government will then have the ability to determine even the most minor aspect of our lives.

Nationalized Healthcare, as clearly stated since 1944 by the communist parties and socialist, is the only way that they will get America to accept socilist control. Obama is well aware of this path and the goals of his communist and socialist mentors, most well known of which is Frank Davis, the Moscow appointed board member of the Communist Party USA, who began mentoring Obama from the age of nine when Obama’s grandfather arranged for him to do so.

Think about that and the fact that everything he is, he was made that way by someone eles, including his narcisstist personality that is still trying to find childhood approval.

Franklyn on December 2, 2010 at 2:58 PM