[Original air date: March 24, 2010]
One of the main selling points of health care reform was that it would cut the federal deficit by a supposed $143 billion over the next decade and a trillion-plus dollars in the one after that.
But not only will the legislation not cut one thin dime from the deficit, it will also certainly cost far more than the $940 billion in new spending already on the table for at least three reasons.
1. Legislative Trickery. Congressional Democrats have pledged support for "the doc fix," a permanent upward adjustment to the rates at which Medicare providers are reimbursed. As Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said, "We have made a commitment to do this. This is very important." The cost of the "doc fix"? Some $247 billion over the next 10 years, wiping out any deficit reduction from health care reform.
2. Higher Premiums. In 2006, Massachusetts passed health care reform very similar to what President Obama just signed. The result? The Bay State now has the highest premiums in the country and cost about 33 percent more than expected.
3. Bad Accounting. The government is terrible at predicting how much programs will cost, especially when it comes to medical care. Initial 1960s' projections of Medicare's costs in 1990 had the program costing about $12 billion; the actual result was almost 10 times that amount. As a Joint Economic Committee report notes, "Major health care proposals have almost always cost more…than the highest cost estimates published while the legislation was pending."
Approximately 2.19 minutes. Written and produced by Meredith Bragg, Dan Hayes, and Nick Gillespie, who also hosts.
Read more about health care reform and its costs here.
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