Friday, July 31, 2009

The Sick Truth IV: Congress Cooks the Health Care Books

In yesterday's edition of Investors Business Daily, Michael F. Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, offered a quick course in how Congress can make the cost of the Government Health Care Takeover look much, much lower than it actually will be.

The method is so ridiculously easy that even a Congress unable to read their own bills can figure it out in a snap. Here's how to make a minimum of $2 trillion over 10 years look like $1.2 trillion over 10 years:

When budgeting how it will spend your money, Congress looks out across a 10-year budget window. The current budget window runs from 2010 to 2019.

A standard trick for making new government programs appear less expensive is to have them take effect not in the first year, but later in the budget window.

If Congress launches a $100 million program in year one, its 10-year cost will be $1 billion. If Congress launches the program in year six, the 10-year cost is just $500 million. Delaying implementation just cut the cost of the program in half, right? Not quite. The program would still cost taxpayers $100 million per year.

That budgetary gimmick lets Congress appear thrifty. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., acting chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, recently said he was "very confident we can meet the president's goal of having a fully-paid-for 10-year program on health care right around $1 trillion." Of course he can! Covering the uninsured costs $2 trillion? Heck, we'll do it for half that price!

That's exactly what House Democrats have done with their medical plan. Of the $1.2 trillion that the Congressional Budget Office estimates the legislation would cost between now and 2019, Democrats would spend only $200 billion in the first five years, but $1 trillion — more than 80% of the total — in the second five years.

The Senate Democrats' medical plan includes new government spending that wouldn't even ramp up until beyond the 10-year window.

Guess who still gets to pay the full amount of outrageous taxation?

That is, until they're "old and in the way" or, even more tragically, "young and in the way."

Don't think that Gov't Health Care in America will deny life-saving treatment to youngsters and oldsters? Read this. (Hat tip: Critical Narrative)

Cartoon by Michael Ramirez, Investors Business Daily


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