Archive for Friday, January 7, 2011

Analysis: Health care repeal would increase deficit

January 7, 2011


— Repealing President Barack Obama’s landmark health care overhaul would add billions to government red ink and leave millions without coverage, Congress’ nonpartisan budget referees said Thursday ahead of a politically charged vote in the House.

House Speaker John Boehner brushed off the Congressional Budget Office analysis as emboldened Republicans, now in the majority in the House, issued their own report arguing that Obama’s coverage expansion would cost jobs and increase budget deficits.

But Democrats seized on the CBO analysis, calling it a game changer in the battle for public opinion.

In a letter to Boehner, budget office director Douglas Elmendorf estimated repeal would increase the deficit by $230 billion from 2012 to 2021, the 10-year estimating period for budget projections. Moreover, Elmendorf said about 32 million more people would be uninsured in 2019 as a consequence.

But Boehner told reporters: “I do not believe that repealing the job-killing health care law will increase the deficit.”

The budget experts are “entitled to their opinion,” added Boehner, R-Ohio, saying that the analysts had to rely on information selectively supplied by Democrats who wrote the legislation. Not so, said the Democrats; adverse rulings by the budget office repeatedly forced them to go back and revise the bill as they were writing it.

The budget director’s verdict gave Democrats a new counterattack against Republicans elected on a promise to cut government debt. Until now, the main Democratic argument has been that repealing the law would eliminate benefits people are already receiving, from seniors facing high drug costs, to young adults who can stay on their parents’ coverage, to those in poor health who can now get insurance.

“We can’t afford to increase the deficit by nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars, especially with the very first substantive vote of the 112th Congress,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the authors of the law.

“Republicans have to understand that health care isn’t going to be repealed,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “They should get a new lease on life and talk about something else.” Reid has said he’ll block repeal in the Democratic-led Senate.

The White House issued a formal veto threat, saying the repeal bill “would explode the deficit, raise costs for the American people and businesses, deny an estimated 32 million people health insurance, and take us back to the days when insurers could deny, limit or drop coverage for any American.”

Republicans countered that even if it’s technically accurate that the health care law reduces deficits in the short run, a program that big is bound to bust the budget over the long term — and repealing it now will save money later.

The House has scheduled a procedural vote on repeal today, with final action next week.


Richard Heckler 7 years, 5 months ago

The GOP repeal will not save anybody money. Obama care will likely not save anybody money because of the new mandates. The mandates just opened the door for the medical insurance industry to increase rates.

Want to reduce rates and save all of us money?

There are approximately 2000 providers = not a fiscally responsible system.

Consumers and governments at all levels must walk away from the medical insurance industry.


  1. high dollar CEO's & stock options

  2. golden parachutes

  3. reckless spending of insurance dollars on special interest campaign funding

  4. shareholders

  5. spending $1.4 million medical insurance dollars a day to keep fiscally responsible IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for All off the table.

  6. sales commissions

  7. 33% of every medical insurance dollar is spend on administration

  8. The medical insurance industry does not provide health care.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 5 months ago

A search on "The medical insurance industry does not provide health care" + merrill got 90 hits. You plan on going into triple digits with this bit of drivel, bub?

notajayhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

"The medical insurance industry does not provide health care."

And homeowners insurance doesn't provide shelter.

And car insurance does not provide transportation.

Did you have some kind of a point, mertle? (Pssst - that was a rhetorical question.)

Liberty275 7 years, 5 months ago

Insurance companies are teh evil! And the democrats want to make sure you stuff their coffers with money. Thanks democrats!

Richard Heckler 7 years, 5 months ago

Another reason to walk away from the medical insurance industry:

Bring on the FBI and the Grand Jury!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Health insurers have forced consumers to pay billions of dollars in medical bills that the insurers themselves should have paid, according to a report released yesterday by the staff of the Senate Commerce Committee.

The report was part of a multi-pronged assault on the credibility of private insurers by Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.). It came at a time when Rockefeller, President Obama and others are seeking to offer a public alternative to private health plans as part of broad health-care reform legislation. Health insurers are doing everything they can to block the public option.

Insurers make paperwork confusing because "they realize that people will just simply give up and not pursue it" if they think they have been shortchanged, Potter said.

More on this story:

Where is the FBI and the grand jury?

Paul R Getto 7 years, 5 months ago

Deep breaths, Merrill. We should be used to this by now. Everyone has a set of 'numbers' they like when discussing major legislation and its fiscal impact. It should be interesting to see which fictional accounts prevail, as no one can really predict economic behaviors and how they affect the economy years down the road. One thing is sure, however, health care costs will continue to rise and millions will seek coverage and won't get it.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 5 months ago

The nation needs a more affordable insurance source. If health care will continue to escalate then we cannot afford escalating medical insurance industry premiums.

Nationalizing the industry across the board might well be another approach. Health care is not a choice necessarily. The human body demands health care therefore should not be treated as a retail item like a can of chili on a grocery shelf.

There are no free rides anywhere. Medicare has never been free.

Creating a system that allows 40 million more to somehow contribute to the insurance pie should reduce the cost for all. Fewer and fewer contributing to the current high dollar network means the fewer will be asked to pay more and more. Paying more and getting less.

Liberty275 7 years, 5 months ago

Can I wish for a Lamborghini Gallardo instead of life ever after? Doing 190 down I70 for the next twenty years would be more fun than slobbering on myself for eternity.

Liberty275 7 years, 5 months ago

"Any attempt to repeal O'Care must be taken as symbolic, at least for now."

Not necessarily. If the republicans are serious about protecting Americans from the odious law until it is found unconstitutional, they can withhold funding.

jafs 7 years, 5 months ago

Actually, what people were bothered by was the omission of a number of embarrassing parts of the reading - if you're going to read it, you should read the whole thing.

George Lippencott 7 years, 5 months ago

Not true. The amended constitution was read. We amended the constitution to remove slavery after 600,000 people died and untold treasure was spent. Just what is your fetish with the dead past – as a whip against anybody you disagree with?

jafs 7 years, 5 months ago


I must have struck some sort of nerve there George.

My understanding is that they read a previous version, but left out parts that would be embarrassing - if that's wrong, my bad.

But please don't take my comments so personally - I have no interest in "whipping" anybody - I thought we were just having discussions here.

George Lippencott 7 years, 5 months ago

OK. I watched the "point of order" on TV and was spring loaded to the issue. Sorry if I read into you.

Mike Ford 7 years, 5 months ago

the average joe doesn't know that Indians are mentioned in the commerce clause and with their anti-Indian behavoir, neither do the dumblicans. Dumblicans will do things that make no sense because many of their constituents make no sense. Go a hundred miles in any direction west of Lawrence and Topeka. You enter the sovereign republics of Dumistan, Churchistan, Gunistan, and Mayberryistan. Please don't show them the man behind the curtain...please....

Fossick 7 years, 5 months ago

And to think, some people actually accuse liberals of being elitist.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 5 months ago

If Boehner thinks the CBO is just offering opinions, then how is the House ever going to pass a budget that cuts spending?

After all, the only backup for their legislation will be the CBO and clearly that is just an opinion.

For instance, yesterday the House was congratulating itself for cutting 5% from the Congressional budget. It sounds like that was just an opinion.

I'll offer up the opinion that they actually increased their budgets by 10% with their jobs killing legislation.

jafs 7 years, 5 months ago

The cynical way to look at that is that the business community prefers the fewer regulations and lower taxes of Republicans, and may have deliberately waited in order to get them into office.

meggers 7 years, 5 months ago

Yet republicans have no problem with using the CBO's numbers when it suits their political purposes.

Fossick 7 years, 5 months ago

No one does, because CBO numbers are not real. The CBO is like a calculator, you ask them for an answer giving them the assumptions you want, and they will tally them up for you. As soon as the GOP asks the question their way, they will get a different answer.

It will be no more accurate.

When did the CBO, under any set of assumptions, ever accurately forecast something 10 years into the future? 10 years ago they forecast a series of surpluses, 10 years before that, it was all deficits. The point is not who is to blame that surpluses did not continue (cough, GWB, cough), the point is that the CBO cannot predict the future, especially when it's constrained by politically-loaded assumptions, and especially when Congress is guaranteed to change nearly everything in a 10-year period.

This story, then, is meaningless. But I suspect that fact will not keep the CBO defenders of today from criticizing the new numbers in 2 weeks, nor the GOP from hailing the new numbers that will come out by then.

gudpoynt 7 years, 5 months ago

precisely meggers.

Remember that boring, "pointless" bipartisan health care summit Obama held last year? I sat through the whole thing. Multiple republicans agreed that the CBO was a trustworthy source for numbers. I don't remember exactly, but I think Boner was one of them.

That is some new leadership, I tell you. Within the first few days, Boner dismisses the non-partisan financial projections of the CBO as mere opinion.

Tell me great hero, what part of this letter from the CBO ( do you believe is mere opinion?

Tell me great hero, what will you say later this month when the CBO sends you a more detailed projection? Will you dismiss that one as well if the numbers don't go your way?

Tell me great hero, will you continue to dismiss the CBO's analyses and recommendations for future legislation? To who will you turn to for your financial projections?

The CBO can't predict the future any more than Punxsutawney Phil. So in lieu of psychic powers, they run detailed analyses based on currently available information.

Republicans claim the CBO was hand fed figures by the Democrats. But wait, didn't the health care bill undergo serveral modifications in light of what the CBO's reports? Why would the Democrats modify their own bill if the CBO's reports were already so favorable to them? They wouldn't. Because they weren't.

"Tell me great hero, but please make it brief. Is there a hole for me to get sick in?"

wmathews 7 years, 5 months ago

Just fixed it. Thanks for the heads up!

Richard Heckler 7 years, 5 months ago

"And homeowners insurance doesn't provide shelter." Nobody makes anyone buy a home that is a choice

"And car insurance does not provide transportation." Nobody makes anyone own a car that is a choice.

Once a person is a born health care is not a choice therefore must a right.

notajayhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

OMG, mertle actually responded to a post instead of re-posting spam!!!!!!

1) Show me in the Constitution where it says health care is a right (as opposed to, say, the right to travel, which has been found by the courts to be a basic right guaranteed by the Constitution).

2) Shelter, like food, is a more basic human need than medical care. The nanny-state doesn't give those things to us.

3) Whether or not health CARE is a right, health insurance has nothing to do with that. You can get health CARE the same way I can, mertle: By paying for it, the same way I do.

(Oh, and incidentally, since as much as 40% of the health care people receive in this country does nothing whatsoever to improve health, yes, a substantial portion of the health care in this country most certainly IS a choice.)

Flap Doodle 7 years, 5 months ago

Internal combustion lawnmowers are ruining our health and killing the planet. They must be banned. Not doing that would be dumb and irresponsible!!!

Fossick 7 years, 5 months ago

That's why I burn my lawn using recycled motor oil. No internal combustion for me!

uncleandyt 7 years, 5 months ago

That's funny, every time. You have conquered humor.

jafs 7 years, 5 months ago

I'd be interested in how the CBO arrived at that conclusion.

And, if the Republicans don't think it's a credible source, then I assume they'll never use it in order to back up their claims again.

gogoplata 7 years, 5 months ago

But at the same time. Health care repeal would increase freedom.

George Lippencott 7 years, 5 months ago

The CBO does a good job. However, it must follow the rules. As part of the passage of Obama Care Medicare was reduced by $600 Billion without any reduction in services. If you repeal Obama Care that reduction dies - costs rise.

Do any of you believe that we were really going to take medical care away from seniors to give to you?? Do any of you really believe that Medicare FWA will be reduced to zero or at all? Do any of you really believe that we were going to cut the payments to doctors by that amount? This is an example of an article written by a "climber" to stir up issues that the author either did nor understand or deliberately ignored.

staff04 7 years, 5 months ago

You don't need to reduce services to attain that cut--you just need to stop paying private insurers that offer Medicare Advantage plans 115% of what it costs to administer the plan and take back control of Medicare from them.

MA was one of the brilliant attempts at privatizing Medicare and it has been nothing but a handout to the insurance industry.

George Lippencott 7 years, 5 months ago

They are but unfortunately it does not produce the savings suggested. (100B versus 600B). This also does not address the argument by Medicare Advantage proponents (backed up by date (i do not know how valid) that there are savings fromn the preventive care in Medicare Advantage. It remains to be seen if the on going debates on Medicare lead to some of those preventive services showing up in Medicare (some already have). If so they will reduce any projected savings (perhaps rapidly as only 25% of seniors were on Advantage while all will be eligible for the new preventive care.

Perhaps the saving will be realized by charging seniors more - seniors pay for boomers. Nice ring!

Richard Heckler 7 years, 5 months ago

Medicare money does a lot for all who seek health care...

Moreover, tax dollars also pay for critical elements of the health care system apart from direct care—Medicare funds much of the expensive equipment hospitals use, for instance, along with all medical residencies.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 5 months ago

Since larryville cratered from the weight of the accumulated stupid over there, some posters have more time to spend on LJW.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 5 months ago

All told, then, tax dollars already pay for at least $1.2 trillion in annual U.S. health care expenses. Since federal, state, and local governments collected approximately $3.5 trillion in taxes of all kinds—income, sales, property, corporate—in 2006, that means that more than one third of the aggregate tax revenues collected in the United States that year went to pay for health care.

Recognizing these hidden costs that U.S. households pay for health care today makes it far easier to see how a universal single-payer system—with all of its obvious advantages—can cost most Americans less than the one we have today.

George Lippencott 7 years, 5 months ago

Not true M. You leave out the payments made by those receiving the care.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 5 months ago

If you want to argur over something try this;

Texas, the GOP's own petrie dish for economics and politics, is going down the toilet. Who'da thunk it?

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 5 months ago

"argue". Yes, the occasional typo slips through.

Hoots 7 years, 5 months ago

Frontline did a segment on Obama Care and the bill was written by the insurance industry. We need real health care in the worst way in this country but once again we were sold out. If you want to see what really happened watch this. We ended up with 2400 pages of transfer or wealth.

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