Obama Double Talk: He Says Health Plan Won’t Add to Deficit: Part 2
Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE
The congressional budget office has scored the House healthcare reform bill and declared it will increase the budget deficit by 1.5 trillion dollars in the next ten years. During his testimony to congress Douglas Elmendorf head of the CBO had the courage to do his job honestly. He contradicted President Obama contention that the House bill will be budget neutral.
“Douglas Elmendorf, head of the Congressional Budget Office, provided a bleak assessment in his testimony on Thursday on whether he thought the healthcare cost curve—which has been steadily rising upward—would finally bend downward under newly introduced reform legislation.”
His response to Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, who asked the question: An unequivocal "no."
The legislation expands federal responsibility for healthcare costs without any real structural change in the healthcare system. The only structural changes will be a decrease in reimbursement to physicians and an ineffective pay for performance system.
"In the legislation that has been reported, we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount," Elmendorf said. "On the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for healthcare costs."
The CBO is not even including the money allocated to healthcare reform in President Obama’s economic stimulus package i.e. the $60 billion dollars allocated to electronic medical records and the $30 billion dollars allocated to Federal Health Board.
On Friday July 16th ,President Obama responded with an emergency press conference. He gave Congress a pep talk. His message was not to give up in the home stretch.
On Saturday morning he told the nation:
“I want to be very clear,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly address to the nation. “I will not sign on to any health plan that adds to our deficits over the next decade. And by helping improve quality and efficiency, the reforms we make will help bring our deficits under control in the long term.”
He crafted his message carefully. He claims even though there is a deficit in the first few years the reform will create a surplus at the end of the decade.
How will he create a surplus?
He might achieve his goal by decreasing access to care.
He could decrease care (rationing).
He could decrease reimbursement to physicians.
He could increase taxes.
He could also cook the financial books to create a profit.
One way to pay for the bill is to raise taxes. Is that a smart idea? Is raising taxes a good idea during a recession? The answer of most economists is no! President Obama,s reply reply is he is only going to tax the rich. Who create the jobs that will revive the economy?
How does President Obama maintain his high approval ratings? He maintains his high ratings by leaving the dirty work up to others while he speaks in generalities and gives pep talks. He uses powerful new media tools to provide Americans with a “voice in government.” The problem is he does not tell us what we are signing up for other than his healthcare reform. He asks us to help defeat his opponents who want to maintain the status quo.
“The same folks who controlled the White House and Congress for the past eight years as we ran up record deficits will argue — believe it or not — that health reform will lead to record deficits,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s simply not true.”
He argued that his proposals would cut “hundreds of billions of dollars” in unnecessary spending and change incentives so health providers “will give patients the best care, not just the most expensive care.”
It sounds great. It gives me a bad feeling. It sounds like big brother will take care of us. We should be empowered to take care of ourselves.
And, he said, he has urged Congress to adopt a plan for a standing commission of doctors and other medical experts to oversee cost-saving measures.
Shorty thereafter, David Plouffe, who crafts his new media internet campaign, sent a note to all his email addresses to have all of us sign up for President Obama’s healthcare reform plan blindly.
President Obama is in the White House today because last year people like you got involved and made it happen.
Passing health care reform in 2009 is a top priority for the President. Achieving it will require everyone working together — we can’t do this without you.
Please listen to the President’s call and then sign your name, asking Congress to deliver health care reform that lowers costs, guarantees choice, and ensures affordable care for all.
Thanks for getting involved,
Organizing for America
America: It is all doubletalk!!
Think about the double talk in the last six months, the economic recovery plan, the financial sectors bailout and then huge profits to Goldman Sachs. Think about the continued huge bonuses and taxpayers’ burdens. Think about the increasing unemployment rate beyond President Obama’s predictions.
Do you trust the government to dictate your healthcare options? Do you think government should decide the course of your medical care for you and your doctor?
Government should regulate the abuse of our healthcare options not dictate medical care.
The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.
Michael Kirsch, M.D. • July 27, 2009
A few weeks ago, even newshounds like myself had never heard of Douglas Elmendorf. Now’s he’s a hero for many of us. He told us what many of us have been saying and fearing: we can’t afford Obamacare. This in only 1 reason to oppose it. I am as concerned that his plan will extend medical mediocrity across the country in his quest for universal coverage. It’s fascinating that the recent opposition and obstruction to health care reform has come from his own party. Obamacare the cure may be worse than the disease. More on reform and medical quality issues at http://www.MDWhistleblower.blogspot.com