Fiscal Responsibility, A Trillion Dollars Worth


Peter Orszag and Nancy-Ann DeParle, the White House's budget director and health care point person, respectively, have an op-ed in the Washington Post this morning making one last case that currently proposed health care reform legislation is, in fact, fiscally responsible. They focus on the reform's provider-side reforms—in particular, the independent Medicare commission that will have the awesome power to make suggestions about how to keep costs down—and the bill's CBO-certified deficit reduction. One thing they don't note: the $950 billion overall cost of President Obama's latest version of the plan. Even if the hoped-for deficit reductions materialize—a hope that's in some doubt—the plan would add nearly a trillion dollars in new spending over the first ten year, and more like $1.8 trillion over the actual first ten years. Remember: Cutting the deficit is not the same as spending less.