Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Victory And Cost

Two aspects of DemCare that I think need to be discussed and considered much, much more are that of victory and cost.

Victory - Joseph Ashby (emphasis mine)

This morning's LA Times stumbled upon a remarkable point in its coverage of the health care bill. In a Drudge-linked article entitled "After healthcare vote, Democrats turn to damage control." The first line of the piece reads:

Democrats may feel today as though they just fought -- and won -- the equivalent of a 100-year war.

This sentiment echoes one of the talking points among Democrats over the final days of the health care debate. "Teddy Roosevelt knew [passing universal health care] was right," thundered President Barack Obama at a Fairfax, Virginia rally last week. Speaker Nancy Pelosi's repeated "one-day-closer" mantra tells us that the Democrats believe they have in fact won a "100-year" clash.

But if the Democrats were waging war, who were they fighting? If  Obama and Pelosi won, who did they defeat?

There are certainly the public enemies--insurance companies, doctors who saw off limbs and rip out tonsils to get fatter reimbursements--but the real reason socialized medicine has never passed is because the public has rejected it each time it is proposed.

Perhaps Obama, Pelosi and the others have won a war, but if that's true, it is the citizens of this country who they fought against; it is the American people who they have conquered.

Remember, the radical liberal Left is not out to make the country better, but to control it.  They rejoiced at the passage of DemCare because they know that they just achieved a monumental level of control over you, me, and every other person in this nation.  They genuinely believe they just conquered the American people.  Warm fuzzy, anyone?

Cost - Fred Barnes (emphasis mine)

When White House chief of staff Rahm Emanual lobbied Democratic Representative Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania last week to vote for the health care bill, he argued it would cut the deficit.   "You ran because you care about the deficit," he told Altmire, according to the Washington Post.  "This is north of $1 trillion in deficit reduction."  Shortly after the bill passed, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered the exact number, claiming the bill would save "the taxpayers $1.3 trillion."

Are these folks disingenuous or just dreaming?  It has to be one or the other.   Why? Because the evidence of spending projections for health care legislation passes tell a simple and unchanging story.  The projections never come close to capturing the magnitude of spending that actually occurs.  They prove to be wildly off the mark compared to real-life expenditures.

Take Medicare, enacted in 1965.  The initial projection was it would cost $9 billion a year by 1990.  The actual figure for 1990 turned out to be $67 billion.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, the baseline for Medicare in 2010 is $521.3 billion, which includes $55.3 billion for the prescription drug benefit approved in 2003.

Or take one part of Medicare, the End Stage Renal Disease program (ESRD) that entitles every sufferer, regardless of age, access to dialysis.  It was created in 1972 and its spending for 1974 was projected at $100 million.  The real cost was $229 million.  In 2007, ESRD cost $23.9 billion, nearly 6 percent of Medicare's overall spending that year.

Or take Medicaid's program of "disproportionate share hospital" payments.  Passed on 1987, it was projected to cost less than $1 billion in 1992.  Its actual cost in 1992:  $17 billion.  The program's cost would still be ballooning if it hadn't been brought under control by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.

These faulty projections are not exceptions to the rule.  They are the rule.  The projection for the first year (1948) of the National Health Service in Britain was 260 pounds, far below the real cost of 359 pounds.   The under-projections have continued to miss the actual demand for health services.

Think they just controlled health care costs?  Check your premiums and write the number down now - in a year or two you'll be dreaming of that number.  That's if you have insurance at all, of course.  The industry won't be around much longer.

I believe March 21st, 2010 will be a new day of infamy in our nation's history, and its magnitude will persist in inverse proportion to how much of DemCare gets repealed in the next two years.

There's my two cents.

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