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The Official Blog of National Taxpayers Union

The Quarter-Trillion Dollar Sneak Attack

Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 19, 2009

Today, NTU released a coalition letter that we circulated that was signed by 20 state and national groups in opposition to an attempt to deceive the American public about the true costs of health care reform. Tomorrow evening, the U.S. Senate will vote on S. 1776, the so-called "Medicare Physicians Fairness Act." This legislation, worth $247 billion (all racked up on the deficit, of course, as it contains no spending reductions elsewhere) is, plain and simple, an attempt to reduce the apparent costs of the comprehensive health care reform bills before Congress.

Here's how they plan to do it. Remember the Baucus bill, which received a CBO score of $829 billion in cost over ten years? The CBO said that legislation would actually reduce the deficit by a small amount. I'm sure that was music to President Obama's ears, as he has stated time and again he wouldn't sign a bill that increased the deficit.

But S. 1776 would immediately reverse a portion of the Baucus bill that was included specifically to reduce its apparent cost for analyses like what the CBO did. It would increase reimbursements to physicians through Medicare by a whopping $247 billion over the next ten years, reversing cuts to those reimbursement rates the Baucus bill used to artificially deflate its score.

So, by splitting this provision off into a different piece of legislation, leaders in Congress are trying to have their cake and eat it too. If they were to pass the Baucus bill, the President would sign it and rightly claim that it didn't increase the deficit (because they raised taxes slightly more massively than they raised spending). But at the same time, S. 1776 would pass into law and ring up another quarter trillion dollars in deficit spending on the side, outside the context of the "comprehensive" health care bill.

Put it this way, when the Washington Post agrees with NTU on something like this, you know something's awry.

Thoughts?   Add Comment -


Gordon said on Oct 19 2009 at 11:05pm
The spend alot of money but they should use it for our kid at least to show some care that they have. young drivers car insurance