by Mario Rizzo
The Wall Street Journal reports, mirable dictu, the latest Senate healthcare plan passes the Congressional Budget Office’s test for not adding to the deficit. In fact, the plan will trim the deficit by $81 billion over ten years. That is an average of $8.1 billion per year in a projected deficit that is so high I can’t remember what it is. This is your classic rounding error. Let that pass.
What is the basic financing mechanism?
“Most of the bill’s funding comes from $404 in cuts to Medicare and other government insurance programs that Democrats say will reduce waste but won’t hurt the recipients’ benefits.”
Now there are many other problems. (Richard Epstein has done a great job in pointing out the flaws with Obamacare in general. See, for example, his “The Libertarian” columns in Forbes-online. And our own Chidem Kurdas has many critically important things to say as well.)
The CBO estimates do not take into account (as they cannot) the political feasibility of enacting the various cuts in waste. But I should like to refer the reader to some recent evidence that suggests that this is political fantasy.
Senator Bill Nelson of Florida: “It would be intolerable to ask senior citizens to give up substantial health benefits they are enjoying under Medicare,” said Mr. Nelson, who has been deluged with calls and complaints from constituents. “I am offering an amendment to shield seniors from those benefit cuts.”
This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. And the Congress has ten years to make sure the savings don’t happen.
My inclination is to say: let this healthcare program happen. The only real check will be the bankruptcy of the welfare state. Trouble is that many good people will get hurt.