Obamacare

What the Administration Knew About the Costs of ObamaCare

|

Follow the cost projections…

On Monday, The Prowler, a pseudonymous writer for The American Spectator, posted an item quoting an anonymous source at the Department of Health and Human Services saying the agency had delayed the release of a report by Medicare actuary Richard Foster noting that overall medical spending would rise under the health reform law.

The HHS has since denied that this is true, telling Post reporter (and Reason contributing editor) Dave Weigel that the article is "completely inaccurate."

The Prowler says his sources are standing by the following facts:

Prior to final passage of the health care reform bill on Sunday, March 21, the Office of the Actuary had provided senior leaders inside HHS with data that indicated the then-bill would increase the cost of health care and impose higher costs on Americans. And that data was not provided to anyone publicly until after the legislation was passed.

It's impossible to know exactly what happened without knowing who the sources are, but it sounds like some data was available prior to passage, though no formal report was ready. The follow-up item also carefully declines to stand by the initial assertion that a report was intentionally suppressed or delayed—saying only that none of the relevant data was released publicly until after the law's passage.

The strange thing about all this is that the report didn't actually indicate much that's genuinely new: A similar report by the CMS actuary on a prior version of the bill was released in November, and it, too, noted that health care costs would go up under the bill, that seniors might see Medicare service cuts, and that the increased demand for care could result in a shortage of care providers. That report might have been glossed over somewhat, but it certainly wasn't suppressed.

On the other hand, the existence of the earlier report means that even if HHS leadership didn't actively attempt to delay the release of the new analysis, they—as did anyone else who was paying attention—knew well in advance of the law's passage that CMS was projecting that ObamaCare would drive overall spending upwards.

NEXT: When Will Feds Start Listening? New ABC Poll Finds 56% - constant for 25 years! - Want Smaller Gov't That Costs, Does Less

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. They hid all of that so they could get CBO to buy off on reconciliation. It is just plain fraud.

  2. We have to pass the bill to know how much more it will cost.

  3. You mean – THEY LIED!?!?

    ;~O

    1. Just wait. Next year Obama with a straight face will tell the country we need a VAT to help pay for his healthcare plan.

      1. This year, you mean. Next year will be too late for his presidency to accomplish anything on their agenda.

  4. So, these are the same guys accusing Goldman for withholding material information in order to close a deal?

    1. I’m untouchable and you know it.

      1. More importantly, you know it, Barry!

  5. Any honest human with half a brain could have predicted with 100% certainty that a government program of this size and scope would go over budget and cost Americans more than if it had never existed. He also could have predicted, and was indeed vindicated in this, that the Administration and Congress and a compliant, supportive and lazy press would lie about it all the way to passage. The only question now is: what shall be done about it?

    1. True, and in a rational world, it would be reconsidered with the new information in hand.

      But now they have their magic unicorn and, if it is starving, it will have to be fed.

      1. Feed the unicorn magic hay, then. Magic hay is free, right?

  6. Whats sad is the big controversial act was passed and nothign has changed. Its business as usual!

    Lou
    http://www.real-web-anonymity.at.tc

    1. Anonimity-bot is now smarter than Congress.

      A low bar, I admit, but amazing progress.

      1. Is he not Bot?
        He is Devo.

      2. None of us is as stupid as all of us.

    2. As soon as anonymity bot becomes self-aware we’re doomed.

      1. Nah, Aresen’s correct. The thing’s smarter than virtually every politician of at least this decade.

  7. The only good that can come of this is possibly a scandal that brings a huge guillotine down on HCR, but I’m not holding my breath.

  8. a pseudonymous writer for The American Spectator, posted an item quoting an anonymous source

    what could go wrong?

    1. Deny everything, and after you’re caught and convicted, find Jesus?

      1. Colson continues professing his Christian faith, even though he no longer needs to fear any additional punishment on account of his behavior in the Nixon Administration.

        It’s almost as if Colson were sincere!

  9. Na gah happen Epi. A little over two months and I’m out of CMS. One of the good unintended consequences (if there are any) is physicians opting out of CMS entirely. The bad thing is more of the stimulus money (keep in mind that the majority has not been spent) will be directed towards matching the states’ Medicaid funds. In OK, the funding for our Medicaid system comes from our tobacco tax. The rest comes in from finite matching funds from the Fed. Which is interesting because OK is number 49 in unhealthiness (Miss. is 50), yet the state would like people to quit smoking and dry up the revenue source for Medicaid, forcing either another sin tax or more help from the Federal Money Printing press.

    1. Let me be clear: there are those who say we shouldn’t draft doctors. I am not one of those people.

      1. Would you want a doctor you’d drafted to have his hands poking around inside your abdomen?

    2. MNG is just slavering for a chance to put a bag over your head and beat you until you treat patients for free.

      BEHOLD TEH STUPIDS!

      1. I already know this and have argued at length with that disingenuous, fascist, statist, seborrheic vaginal blood fart collecting colostomy bag regarding that subject.

        1. Thanks for the visual.

          1. I loath MNG. He is the only regular poster that I would, in no uncertain terms, enjoy beating the everloving shit out of. And I’m a very non-aggressive person.

            1. Ignoring him would be a hell of a lot easier.

              1. True. But the notion that there are millions more that have the same groupthink and follow that belief sans deviation makes ignoring that tripe very difficult.

                Anyone who advocates physical force to compel someone to perform an act against his or her will earns my undying contempt.

            2. Really? Not even Chad? Chad gets my vote for that… Pure evil. MNG is just frequently ignorant.

              1. I’ve never read in Chad’s posts to advocate physical force, personally or otherwise, a la gun to the head or threaten my person with battery, like MNG has.

                Where Chad gets my goat is the tripe that specialists are overpaid in this country. His brand of evil is more insidious in that he wants my industry by the professional balls via legislative fiat. I would rather foil him using legal means at my disposal (no longer accepting CMS).

      2. slavery is OK so long as the Right People are in charge.

  10. And in related news, water is wet.

    I seriously doubt that ANYONE on EITHER SIDE of the debate is surprised by this revelation. “Reducing the deficit” was nothing but a cyncial talking point intended to convince only the most ignorant among us… and if it wasn’t intended as just a talking point, they wouldn’t have played games with the CBO score in the first place.

    Maybe I’m too cynical now, because this really seems like non-news to me.

    They’re politicians. Lying and grabbing power and acting all hypocritical is what they do. Duh.

    1. We agree.
      And how about those racist Arizonans?

  11. what could go wrong?

    Pseudonymous partisan with subtly shifting, anonymously sourced, unverifiable non-info vs. Shilly D uncritically relaying admin spin w/ dash of “RIGHT WING BURNING!” menace ? tossup.

  12. IIRC, the administration of Bush the Lesser hid the real costs of Medicare part D until after it was passed.

    You’d almost think government officials deliberately low ball cost estimates in order to get programs passed.

    Use any goddam mass transit project in the nation for the last 30 years as an example. Or Medicare. Or Medicaid. Or the V-22. Or the Space Shuttle. Or the war in Iraq.

    If you think I’m going to let either major party off the hook for incessant deception about the price of government programs, think again.

    1. Didn’t Reason run an article on this recently?

    2. The Medicare Chief Actuary was threatened with dismissal if he revealed the cost of Bush’s drug benefit to Congress before they voted.

      I don’t have the link at hand, but it’s not hard to find.

      1. Well, Foster himself summarizes the controversy pretty well here:

        http://www.contingencies.org/novdec04/coverstory.pdf

        Trouble is, it’s not clear what the Bush Administration did was wrong. Foster was ordered, in his capacity as Chief Actuarial Officer for the government, not to respond directly to Congress but to forward all his reports through HHS. He didn’t like this but – surprise! surprise! – his own attorney told him it was legal. He worked for the Executive Branch, not Congress, and nothing in the statute that created his office gave him the authority to make an end-run around HHS. Was he “threatened”? probably – but even the IG’s office admitted HHS had the right to tell him to shut up or be fired.

        He also admits in this article that 90% of his work DID get forwarded to Congress and that there was no reason to believe his estimates were any more accurate than the ones CBO used. His main complaint seems to be that for decades his office had sent its reports directly to Congress instead of through HHS: HHS told him to stop. But even he admits HHS was within its authority.

  13. Wait a second. Mark Twain was Deep Throat? That’s crazy!

  14. You mean we don’t all get a free puppy – those lying bastards!

    1. No, you just get a puppy credit taken out of your witholdings. A ‘Making Puppy’s Pay’ cuddle credit.

  15. And when did you know it.

  16. It’s impossible to know exactly what happened

    The fuck it is. Obama lied again, deceived again. Everything out of his fucking mouth is a fucking lie.

  17. Apparently, there was a top secret memo circulating around the White House prior to the Iraqi war that some people might die if Iraq was invaded. Of course, no one could have seen it coming.

  18. This is why I sometime think Obama has more respect for his adversaries than his supporters. Opponents of Obamacare have been pointing out for months that it will most certainly raise costs. Obama and his supporters insisted otherwise. How could Obama respect anyone who couldn’t see something so obvious? Some were just going along with it, but so many people seemed to sincerely believe it would lower costs.

  19. Top secrets… kept by Top Men.

  20. In other shocking news, the Office of the Imperial Tailor has finally revealed that the Emperor doesn’t have any clothes. The issue of the emperor’s sartorial status had previously been controversial, with naive observers saying he was naked, while sophisticated analysts pointed out that his clothes were voluminous and ample.

  21. Goldman is sleazy—Obama–the lying jama—took their dough—will not return it—and he takes the high road??–which whore is worse?? a whore or a whore who screws a whore??

  22. where is the media???????????????

    1. They’ve moved on to the next heavy-lifting project. Their work on HCR is done with.

  23. Of course some enterprising reporter might just ask the actuary when he gave his findings to the brass at HHS. Nah too easy.

  24. John Devo: Actually, quite a bit has changed, and already. My largest institutional client just got hit with a 40% increase in its health-insurance renewal quotation. A good friend who has multiple sizeable (50+ employee) commercial and industrial clients is seeing his clients getting popped with 47% increases, accompanied by a sheaf of declination letters from major carriers to the effect that they can’t touch the number produced by that 47% increase. These aren’t cadillac plans, either. They’re just regular employers trying to do the decent thing by their employees and their families . . . and with a very, very limited ability to pass those price increases on to the companies’ customers. The employer really runs short of options at that point. Drop all insurance and pay the penalty, or ratchet the employees’ contributions through the roof, or go out of business. I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but I fail to see how any of those makes anyone better off.

  25. Doesn’t matter, the Democrats had been “bought and paid for” and the vote would have been the same. Just ask Stupak.

  26. There’s two explanations here. I don’t see a third. You decide which makes the Dems look worse

    (1) They had the report and the data, and they buried it to pass the bill.

    (2) They knew the report was coming and made damn sure to ram the bill through before it came.

  27. We lied. Liberty Died.
    We don;t care what it cost, we don;t care how effective it is. We only care about the coverage.
    Yes, we are that cynical

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.