After taking shots to the political solar plexus from the CBO on the costs of their health-care reform package, House Democrats have decided to drop the pretense of saving money through ObamaCare. Instead, The Hill reports that Democrats will argue that the new health-care system will be so good, that it will be worth spending a lot more money on it, and the savings will magically appear from …. somewhere. Since the entire raison d’etre of ObamaCare is that medical costs are bankrupting America, this smells like desperation:
Following a blow from the Congressional Budget Office, Democratic leaders in Congress likely will make the case this week that the healthcare reform plan has multiple benefits and cost savings that cannot be scored by independent congressional accountants.
Democrats are going to seek to convince skeptics that the healthcare overhaul has other provisions, such as prevention and wellness measures, that will provide benefits and save money, a House leadership aide told The Hill on Sunday. …
“At CBO, they are accountants, but we still have to make our case,” the leadership aide said. “They are doing their thing and we are doing ours.”
“What people seem to forget is that we are making progress [with legislation], but that the [Energy and Commerce] committee is still talking and that the legislation is not finalized,” the aide said. Lawmakers are continuing to look at “other measures to save money or to slow the rate of growth — all of those things are under discussion,” the aide added.
Call it faith-based economics. Just forget all of those people who make a living at looking at balance sheets, cost projections, and legislative analysis — trust us! For a party that screeched about returning science to its “rightful place” in policymaking, they seem highly enamored of tarot cards and entrail-reading when it comes to their own fiscal policies.
The Obama administration and the Democrats have yet to learn that one cannot spend their way back into solvency. We already have government programs for medical care that don’t work. If Congress wants to overhaul Medicare/Medicaid to make it financially viable, the VA to make it responsive, and Indian Health Service to make it do anything for its consumers, that would be enough for any Congress to do. Otherwise, we don’t need the Church of Democratic Spending asking us to ignore the evidence of massive irresponsibility and ask us to believe that they can perform some kind of transubstantiation to make it into cost savings for the American taxpayer.
Update: Gary Gross discusses the difference between cost and price, as I have done repeatedly. This point needs constant attention.