Bombshell: CBO chief tells Congress ObamaCare will "significantly expand" federal spending; Report: Bipartisan deal close?

I’m using “bombshell” unironically. You and I know that it’ll explode spending but The One’s actually been pitching this boondoggle — insanely — as a cost-saving measure, even though it’s common knowledge that ObamaCare 1.0, a.k.a. Medicare, is well on its way to bankrupting America.


The cat’s all the way out of the bag now.

Conrad: Dr. Elmendorf, I am going to really put you on the spot because we are in the middle of this health care debate, but it is critically important that we get this right. Everyone has said, virtually everyone, that bending the cost curve over time is critically important and one of the key goals of this entire effort. From what you have seen from the products of the committees that have reported, do you see a successful effort being mounted to bend the long-term cost curve?

Elmendorf: No, Mr. Chairman. In the legislation that has been reported we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount. And on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs…

As we wrote in our letter to you and Senator Gregg, the creation of a new subsidy for health insurance, which is a critical part of expanding health insurance coverage in our judgement, would by itself increase the federal responsibility for health care that raises federal spending on health care. It raises the amount of activity that is growing at this unsustainable rate and to offset that there has to be very substantial reductions in other parts of the federal commitment to health care, either on the tax revenue side through changes in the tax exclusion or on the spending side through reforms in Medicare and Medicaid. Certainly reforms of that sort are included in some of the packages, and we are still analyzing the reforms in the House package. Legislation was only released as you know two days ago. But changes we have looked at so far do not represent the fundamental change on the order of magnitude that would be necessary to offset the direct increase in federal health costs from the insurance coverage proposals.


It’s a month to the day since the first time Elmendorf kneecapped Hopenchange by announcing that not only would an early iteration of ObamaCare cost a trillion dollars over the next decade, it would still leave millions uninsured. The money question now: Will this further embolden the Blue Dogs to torpedo the House bill? They’ve got tons of media momentum behind them, believe it or not. Drudge is leading with the New York Post’s story about a 57% combined income tax rate in New York City on top earners once the ObamaCare surtax passes while ABC flags a study showing that combined top tax rates in fully 39 states will soar to over 50% as well. The public’s not buying The One’s crap about how the rich are going to pay for this either: According to Rasmussen, 78% expect the tax burden for ObamaCare to trickle down to the middle class. And in McClatchy’s new poll, the split between those who think expanding coverage is top priority and those who think top priority is controlling costs is now just two points, within the margin of error — even as the number who say the country’s on the right track has dropped 12 points since June, confirming the Hotline poll from yesterday. Like Karl says, the mask is off and The One’s political capital is at ebb tide. If fiscal conservatives can’t stop ObamaCare now — or at least vastly improve it — then we never will.


Update: Even supersquishy Olympia Snowe’s getting cold feet:

But beyond policy, Snowe and other moderates are bristling at the time table set by President Obama – he wants bills passed through the House and Senate before the bodies leave for their August recess on August 7.

She told reporters last night that’s probably not enough time. And she pointed to the creation of Medicare in the 1960s, which she said took a lot longer than the time table set out by Democrats this year.

Update: A must-read post from Kaus. If you’d told me in advance that ObamaCare would run into problems, the very last reason I’d anticipate would be poor salesmanship by Obama. And yet:

He lectures: It’s also time, Obama tells his viewers, to lose weight, and stop smoking, and pull up your socks. Later on he tells people that they are foolish to prefer brand name drugs to generic drugs, and to want multiple medical tests. “If you only need one test, why do you want five tests?” Stop clinging to your tests! You’re worse than those people in Pennsylvania.

Who knew we were electing a national mother-in-law? And get a chance to endure increased taxes for the privilege. Obama’s supposed to be rallying support from voters, not castigating them. Outside the S& M parlor, most people do not enjoy paying to be disciplined.

Update: Uh oh.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus(D-Mont.) said Thursday that he hopes to have a bipartisan deal on a health care reform bill by the end of the day.

He made the remarks after huddling for about two hours with five Finance Committee members most closely involved in the negotiations. It was the first time Baucus acknowledged a time frame for reaching an agreement.

“We are meeting very aggressively today,” Baucus said of the bipartisan group, which plans to meet again at 1:30 p.m. “We will keep meeting all day long. I hope we can reach some kind of agreement by the end of the day, but having said that, it depends on what kind it is.”


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