Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dear Senator McCaskill...

As expected, Claire-Bear talked tough on DemCare, saying she would oppose it if it added to the skyrocketing deficit, then she supported it anyway.  Below is an e-mail that I just sent to her office, with the most important part highlighted here:


Last week, you stated in an interview ( that you would 'absolutely' vote against the Senate health care bill if it raised health care costs and the deficit.  Your statement echoed remarks by the President ( that critics' suggestion that the Senate bill would increase costs and the deficit didn't 'hold water'.

This position is, I presume, based on the CBO's December 19 analysis ( of Harry Reid's manager's amendment (  That analysis contained some major assumptions that can legitimately be questioned, but for the sake of argument, let's assume it to be accurate.

The CBO has announced ( that the initial numbers were incorrect.  In a letter to Sen. Jeff Sessions, the CBO said, in part:

"The improvement in Medicare's finances would not be matched by a corresponding improvement in the federal government's overall finances. CBO and JCT estimated that the PPACA as originally proposed would add more than $300 billion ($246 billion + $69 billion + interest) to the balance of the HI trust fund by 2019, while reducing federal budget deficits by a total of $130 billion by 2019. Thus, the trust fund would be recording additional saving of more than $300 billion during the next 10 years, but the government as a whole would be doing much less additional saving.

CBO has not undertaken a comparable quantitative analysis for the PPACA incorporating the manager's amendment, but the results would be qualitatively similar. The reductions in projected Part A outlays and increases in projected HI revenues would significantly raise balances in the HI trust fund and create the appearance that significant additional resources had been set aside to pay for future Medicare benefits. However, the additional savings by the government as a whole—which represent the true increase in the ability to pay for future Medicare benefits or other programs—would be a good deal smaller.

The key point is that the savings to the HI trust fund under the PPACA would be received by the government only once, so they cannot be set aside to pay for future Medicare spending and, at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation or on other programs."

In effect, the CBO is saying that the Senate bill counts the same dollars twice, once for future Medicare spending and once for paying down other parts of the legislation.  Since that is obviously not possible in the real world outside of government accounting circles, the Senate health care bill in the real world will actually increase the deficit.  In the light of this new information from the CBO, I would like to inquire as to whether or not you are preparing to reverse your position on the bill.

Thank you

I await her answer with baited breath.

There's my two cents.

PS - I think it would be fun if lots of people wrote and called her about this turnaround in the numbers and held her accountable for her previous pledge to oppose DemCare if it hit the deficit.  If you do so, please e-mail me or drop a comment to let me know what response you get, and I'll post the best ones.

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