The White House has a two-pronged strategy for rebuffing efforts to scrap or alter the health care law.
1. Resort to specious arguments. This is a good idea because people might believe things that aren’t exactly true.
2. Scare the crap out of you. This is a good idea because you might decide that without health reform, you will die.
Both strategies are currently on display.
Leading the “specious arguments” category is the claim that repealing the health bill will add to the deficit. It takes, in the words of the great Yiddish philosophers, a Hell of a lot of Chutzpah to argue that ending a $1 trillion entitlement will add to the deficit.
Technically, according to WASHINGTON ACCOUNTING METHODS, this is true, because the Democrats included enough “savings” in the bill, and front loaded the savings while adding the costs in later in the decade, so that overall it “saved” a couple of hundred billion dollars over ten years.
But the impression being conveyed here, that abolishing massive new spending will increase the deficit, is about as misleading as the Double Stuff Oreo Cookie Diet.
Here’s a couple of the many reasons why the bill may well increase the deficit, despite spending cuts and tax increases to “pay for” it.
The law’s reduction in the deficit assume several savings that are unlikely to be realized.
First is a presumed cut in Medicare payments to physicians, which is existing law that Congress changes every year so doctors can get their money. The bill assumes Medicare will not have to make payments to doctors that, in fact, it will have to make to doctors.
The bill also assumes other cuts in Medicare spending that Congress may shove aside, and foretells slower increases in health care even as wonderful and expensive new treatments are created and the population ages and demands more and better health care.
But let’s shove all that aside and note that the action Republicans are taking which, technically, adds to the deficit, is the word for word repeal of the law. It’s a symbolic step that won’t become law. Republicans also could easily axe the only costly provisions of the bill and KEEP its putative savings, using them to reduce the deficit instead of paying for health reform.
On our other prong, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius began the process of scaring the crap out of you yesterday, releasing a report saying if the health care law was overturned up to 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions would be at risk of being denied insurance or losing the insurance they have.
That’s about 60 percent of the number of Americans who are on the road each day. Which leads to another startling statistic: Up to 220 million Americans could be killed while driving tomorrow.