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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 01/13/2011

The battle over the health care bill

By Glenn Kessler



"I do not believe that repealing the job-killing health care law will increase the deficit. CBO [Congressional Budget Office] is entitled to their opinion, but they're locked within constraints of the 1974 Budget Act. Listen, even the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have made clear that this bill will not save the kind of money that was predicted earlier. ....CBO can only provide a score based on the assumptions that are given to them. And if you go back and look at the health-care bill and the assumptions that were given to them, you see all of the double-counting that went on. You see the fact that the "doc fix" wasn't even part of the bill."
--House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), January 6, 2011


"They're going to repeal the health care bill which cost the Treasury $1.2 trillion, they've got irresponsible policies."
--Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), January 6, 2011

The new leader of the House of Representatives, speaking to reporters at his maiden news conference last week, resorted to a lot of inside-the-Beltway language that might have left even devoted watchers of C-SPAN scratching their heads. But he's talking about a critical question--whether the health care overhaul passed last year will actually reduce the deficit or not. Republicans contend that it does not, and that is one of the main reasons they cite for wanting to repeal it. But the problem, for the GOP, is that the CBO is the official scorekeeper for Congress. By the CBO's math, the bill does reduce the deficit--and that repealing the bill would increase the deficit. Some of Boehner's assertions have a basis in fact, but you can't dismiss the umpire in the middle of the game when you don't like the calls he makes.

Meanwhile, many Democrats are playing their own games with the numbers. Weiner's statement is typical--he takes a very hazy forecast 20 years down the road and treats it as the gospel truth.

We're going to take a relatively detailed tour through these conflicting claims, and try to sort them out. Hang on, the issue's important--if a bit complicated.

The Facts

The Congressional Budget Office is a nonpartisan arm of Congress, established in 1974, that estimates the spending associated with bills proposed in the Congress. (The Joint Committee on Taxation deals with revenues.) The CBO estimates may differ from projections made by the White House or other executive branch agencies, but its conclusions carry significant weight. The CBO's judgments become the bottom line that Congress considers when it is debating a bill. The numbers are actually a mid-range of possible outcomes and are often well-grounded estimates, but even CBO Budget Director Douglas W. Elmendorf says the "actual outcomes will surely differ from our estimates in one direction or another." Still, lawmakers and reporters treat them as if they are etched on stone tablets.

President Obama had promised that his health care plan would not increase the deficit, so the White House last year was on pins and needles waiting for the official CBO score. The final verdict: in the first ten years the health care bill would reduce the deficit by $143 billion. The CBO did not even try to offer a deficit-reduction number for the second decade, but gave a vague response that Democrats have translated into a hard figure of $1.2 trillion.

In many ways, the focus on the numbers is silly. The CBO has a respectable track record, but CBO's numbers are based on models, and models can be flawed. No one really knows exactly what the impact of legislative changes will be ten years from now, let alone how population growth, economic growth or other factors ultimately will affect the bottom line. It would be more logical to offer a range, but CBO is expected to produce an actual number.

Here's where it gets complicated. Let's look at the GOP charge that this number was cooked through "double-counting," questionable assumptions and the like. Boehner has a point here. CBO has to evaluate the bill as it stands. There were education provisions in the bill that had little to do with health care. Those changes to the law acount for $19 billion of the supposed deficit reduction, so let's put that aside.

That leaves $124 billion of deficit reduction related to health care. But that is pretty iffy too.

When Boehner refers to the "doc fix," he's talking about a never-implemented cut in Medicare to doctors passed in 1997--when the Republicans were in control, and Boehner was in a leadership post. Except for one year, Congress has repeatedly waived that provision but has never repealed it. Because the provision remains in law, the CBO had to assume the revenue--some $200 billion over ten years--would keep flowing even though no one in Congress supports implementing those cuts.

Now, if you add back the "doc fix," the supposed deficit reduction has disappeared. But there's more. Because of federal budget practices, the law also results in a theoretical $400 billion improvement in the cash flow of the Medicare insurance trust fund even though it does not actually enhance the ability of the government to pay those benefits. So many would argue that that $400 billion is also illusionary.

The CBO also did not estimate the cost of annual spending bills needed to implement the new law, because such actions were not detailed in the legislation. In a later estimate, the CBO suggested the cost of implementing the bill over ten years would be $115 billion. But pay-as-you-go rules would require such money to be offset, so it's unclear whether those costs would add to the deficit. House GOP leaders swear they will not fund the implementation of the bill, but the CBO more recently said that more than $86 billion in discretionary spending is for activities already authorized or being carried out, so perhaps that's a moot point.

Adding all that up--already we are adding back more than half a trillion dollars--the predicted deficit reduction of $143 billion begins to look pretty shaky, if not fictitious. But the focus on the numbers obscures a broader point made by the CBO estimate last year: Over time, the CBO experts believe, the health care law would greatly reduce the number of uninsured and begin to slow the growth of health care costs in the federal budget, especially in its second decade.

Elmendorf, however, has warned that some of policies designed to reduce health spending may be difficult to sustain--and that it isn't even clear what specific policies would actually result in real cost savings. Richard S. Foster, the chief actuary of the Medicare and Medicaid, also cast serious doubt on whether the Medicare savings claimed in the second decade could be achieved without significant pain for many hospitals, nursing facilities and other providers.

This is why Weiner's assertion that repealing the health care bill would cost the Treasury $1.2 trillion is misleading. It's bad enough to cite a ten-year figure. But to claim a 20-year figure is absurd. There are too many uncertainties to be precise, and the CBO itself merely offered a tentative guess of a "broad range of around one-half percent of GDP," with significant caveats. Democrats simply took that percentage, multiplied it against the predicted size of the GDP 20 years from now (itself a pretty fuzzy figure) and presto, they had a number. But it's a fairly meaningless one.

Boehner and other GOP leaders repeatedly label the bill a "job-killer"--so much so the phrase is actually in the name of the repeal bill that will be considered on the floor of the House this week--but both sides can cite studies making their case. (Click here for a counter view to the job-killer moniker.) The use of the term "job-killer" is over-the-top political rhetoric, and the folks at factcheck.org have done a good job of debunking some of the claims behind that label.

Finally, the GOP's decrying that the law was crafted to reach a favorable ruling from budget scorekeepers is simply hypocritical. One of the most egregious manipulations of such assumptions in recent years was the passage of George W. Bush's tax cut in 2001. The administration and its Republican allies wanted to pass a tax cut that would reduce revenues by $1.6 trillion over ten years but were constrained by the budget rules in place at the time to just a cut of $1.35 trillion. So they simply ended the tax cuts in the ninth year (allowing them to count all the revenue springing forth in the tenth year from the return of the estate tax, higher tax brackets and the like).

In other words, they effectively stuffed a $1.6 trillion tax cut in the bill, even though the estimators were required to say it "cost" only $1.35 trillion. That ticking time bomb fell in Obama's lap this winter, forcing him to cut the deal last month that extended the Bush cuts for two more years.

The Pinocchio Test

Dig beneath the numbers and Boehner and his Republican co-horts have a point that the figures are suspect. But this is a game that both parties have played, and crocodile tears now should not obscure the many times Republicans have resorted to the same tactics in the past. The CBO number is the playing field that both sides use. And Democrats (of whom Weiner is just one example) should not be perfoming such tricks with the numbers either. In theory the claim of $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction rests on an actual estimate by a respected organization. But it's not really a CBO figure. The tenuous nature of these estimates makes it silly and counter productive to assert that the health care legislation ever was considered a deficit-reduction bill in the first place. It was a law designed to reduce the number of uninsured Americans and (with a little luck) rein in medical costs. Politicians should not pretend otherwise.

Three Pinocchios each.

(About our rating scale).

UPDATE, January 17:

Some readers have criticized me for lumping the "doc fix" into these calculations. I thought I had made it clear that this problem predated health care overhaul--Congress passed an ill-conceived formula for doctor payments in 1997--but it is a problem that needs to be fixed. The Democrats recognized this when they tried to include a fix in early versions of the health care legislation. But they they dropped it, partly because the fix was so expensive. It is a fair point that because the "doc fix" is not part of the health care bill, it should not be included in deficit calculations. In this column, however, I was trying to demonstrate how the CBO is constrained by the language of the legislation it is given to evaluate. One reason why the "doc fix" was not included in the bill is because it would have wiped out the perception of deficit reduction. If CBO scoring would have indicated sizeable deficit reduction even with a "doc fix," my guess is that a "doc fix" would have been in the bill. Ultimately, Congress will have to address this issue--and any solution will have a negative impact on federal budget projections.

Follow The Fact Checker on Twitter @GlennKesslerWP

By Glenn Kessler  | January 13, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  3 Pinocchios, Health, Ratings  
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Comments

Glenn, your article clearly points out why we don't trust politicians from either party. We've learned time again that pols deny, distort and muddy the water.

Posted by: citizen4truth1 | January 13, 2011 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Just as I appreciate what you are trying to say, I also find your article inconclusive. You debunk theories from both the Republicans and the Democrats without giving us the exact conclusion. You tell us what they are both right and wrong about, and you tell us that all those estimates done by actuaries are not exactly accurate. I was expecting better estimates if you say those done by CBO are not reliable. SO EXACTLY WHAT ARE YOU SAYING??? Are you saying the Health Care Act actually reduces the deficit or not, OR rather you are just inter-playing numbers. I am glad that you are aware of the purpose of the Health Care Act which is to reduce the number of uninsured Americans. What you are talking of are the after-effects of the HCA. Everything which is called an estimate has inaccuracies, so what exactly suggesting should be done?

Posted by: fredcham09 | January 13, 2011 8:15 AM | Report abuse

The problem is you and the Republicans are presenting these figures without a context, which is only one half of the cost/benefit analyst that each bill should be scrutinized for. Lets say the reality is deficit neutral or even a slight increase. What are we getting for that, obviously if it was just to maintain the status quo it would not be worthwhile. But that is not the case the bill will allow access to Medical care (not just emergency services) for up to 30 million Americans (almost 10% of the population) who presently do not have it. And while it doesn’t reduce the cost of care for all Americans it will cut the double digit increases in that cost of care we have been seeing yearly for the last decade. In that case deficit neutral or even a slight increase seems like a hell of a deal.

The real myth here is that you can discuss cost without discussing benefit. The reality is that is just doing a half ass job.

Posted by: notthatdum | January 13, 2011 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Obamacare is hooey.

But thanks for playing, Mr. administration mouthpiece. We have some lovely parting gifts for you.

Posted by: grunk | January 13, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Here's my truth test:

How accurate were the initial cost estimates for Medicare and Medicaid compared to actual costs down the road?

Both programs are gushing red ink.

Why can we expect Obamacare to be any different?

The problem is that another enormous, fiscally dysfunctional entitlement could push our entire ecomony into chaos.

Posted by: drjcarlucci | January 13, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

The inability to be honest is accelerating our national decline.

Insurance works best when the pool of insured is most comprehensive--the cost of high risk participants is offset by the low risk participants.

Our pre-existing health care ''system'' puts the power in the hands of the payers and providers, leaving it virtually impossible for consumers (patients) to compare the price and value of the services they receive. It is not a free market.

The ACA expands the pool of the insured, establishes exchanges to foster choice, quality and cost control, and accelerates progress toward understanding what works and what does not. The Federal government is the only entity that could do this.

The dishonest attacks on the ACA (government takeover, socialism, death panels, job killing) distorted the legislation, giving us less than we should have if an honest debate had occurred. Continued partisan quibbling will make it worse, adding uncertainty to the decisions made by consumers, businesses and state governments.

Our future depends on getting serious, acknowledging that our decline will continue if we do not deal honestly with the world as it really is.

Posted by: Clear_Eye | January 13, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Talking points talking points talking points. You can always tell the Republicans are talking. It usually reverts to encouraging some kind of violence. If you don't agree demonize.
And no the level of the extreme is not equally shared in terms of blame. When it comes from the right people die.

Posted by: Brianwithaneye | January 13, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Those opposed to the health plan continue to delude themselves. They bought into the lies and non-facts of the opposition. It's amazing just how some don't let facts get in the way of their blindness. Do us a favor, when it's time for you to sign-up for Medicare, don't.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 13, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Glenn,
You're making a serious mistake when you include the doc fix cost as part of the ACA. The doc fix revenue was never a part of the ACA budgeting done by the CBO. The doc fix problem has been going on for more than a decade and is independent of the ACA. There's no reason it's savings, or lack there of, should be part of the accounting of ACA and, in fact, it isn't.

Posted by: sixman | January 13, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Here we go again. Partisans from both sides are posting here, attacking the messenger, Even when a person does write an article that remains neutral, that scrutinizes both sides and points out the mumbo-jumbo coming from both sides, the "fringies" come out in force. I agree with your thesis: let's drop the numbers, and just decide if we want healthcare for all or not. For example, if I want a new car, I have to pay for it. I can't get it for free. Knowing that, I then need to decide how to pay for it. I can come up with the cash, or I can finance it. Healthcare (and I too am sick of all of the "Obamacare, job-killing, irresponsible" labels) is no different. The voters of the country need to once and for all decide if they want all Americans insured, and if so, they must say yes, we will pay for it, and then decide how. But all of this "shoot the messenger " stuff on here today springing forth from partisanship and nor scholarship is just disgusting.

Posted by: rtinindiana | January 13, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

You wrote an informative article that I enjoyed reading. However, I offer one suggestion. This article was about the health care law's impact on the deficit. Why mention the Republican's action on the tax cut. It seems each time a reporter writes a "negative" article about one party they feel obligated to mention something "negative" about the other party. This is what leads to the "tit for tat" in our political climate. Maybe, we should start with a clean slate. Forget the past and only write about the actions of this congress without giving them cover. At some point, we have to decide the issues are just too important. We need to hold the current congress and administration accountable. What others did doesn't matter. Over time, out leaders and country will be better off.

Posted by: Paul70 | January 13, 2011 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I looks like Pinocchio is sporting a boener.

Posted by: johng1 | January 13, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Bottom line:

Republicans want to continue tranffering 17% of our GDP to insurance companies.

Why not, members of congress have life time health and pension benefits "We The Small People" are forced to pay for.

It's a game of "We Got Ours" and you don't get to play.

Posted by: knjincvc | January 13, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

An interesting article, but not much substance. Most people have already figured out the HCA will not increase the budget as much as the republicans say, as well as kill jobs, and that the bill will not save nearly as much money as the Democrats claim. So what are we really after here? I believe it will, in the long run, lower costs for most Americans, provide health care for a larger segment of the population, and do what a government program is supposed to do. Government is not in the business of earning money. It is not a corporation. It is in place to serve the people. This bill does that. All the fluff surrounding it does not deter that fact. As for the CBO numbers, they are more than adequate for their purpose. No more wasting time on this, the country needs to move forward.

Posted by: dougw3 | January 13, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

As one of the uninsurable, and as an insurance agent, I whole-heartedly suuport the health care bill. The fact that it will reduce the deficit is a bonus. My wife, a CPA, is also uninsurable, and we are looking forward to getting insurance if the states ever set up their programs. These were supposed to be done already.

The premiums we were told would run $639.00 per month each, but at least we could get coverage. It's either that, or move to another country so we can get coverage. That's a sotry option for 2 natrual born citizens. I have lived in both Ireland and Canada, and was covered in both countries with very good coverage.

Posted by: COLEBRACKETT | January 13, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Note to US citizens & Congress:

1. Equal healthcare for constituents as for members of Congress (and staff) is freedom/justice/liberty.
2. Employer based insurance is not working if the goal is to create jobs.
3. A US Constitutional amendment is in order.
4. ……….

Posted by: OutOfState | January 13, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"...the bill will allow access to Medical care (not just emergency services) for up to 30 million Americans (almost 10% of the population) who presently do not have it."

No!! The bill allows health INSURANCE for 30 million people who don't have it. Health CARE is available to all -- those without insurance are simply required to pay out of pocket for the costs incurred for that care.

Anyway, this is an excellent article detailing the myths both sides are feeding us.

Posted by: outsider6 | January 13, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

The only answer is the Public Option. The American people should be able to drop the health insurance monopoly and buy in bulk without being called socialists and communists. It's called capitalism...

Posted by: Hawkestreet1 | January 13, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Good. It is about the health care law. But I see here more points. Facts. Making an opinon form facts as they are. Very unusual these last times. Many other "analysts" had to take notes learning.

Posted by: Vercinget333 | January 13, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Rolling Stone - 1122 issue, dated January 20, 2011 wrote a scathing article on John Boehner.

The article written in the Rolling Stone pretty much sums up the true character of John Boehner and what is overall objective is as Speaker of the House, and is also pretty much in alignment with this article.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | January 13, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

No!! The bill allows health INSURANCE for 30 million people who don't have it. Health CARE is available to all -- those without insurance are simply required to pay out of pocket for the costs incurred for that care.
_____________________________
@outsider6
You are partially correct. Health CARE is not available to all. A good number of citizens do not live near a health care facility (rural poor). Also of that 'all' who can access an emergency room or medical services usually do not pay, if they have no money. The cost of that care is passed on, by the hospitals and other medical providers, to those of us that have insurance (or to the GOVT) through higher costs for each service. ($10.00 for one tylenol). Again if you spread the costs over a wider population usually the costs will moderate and in some cases decrease. And for the long term we need to have a healthier population overall in order to bring the costs down. If the citizenry does not want to pay for these high costs then either extend real coverage to all citizens or start denying care to those that come to the emergency room (or other facilities) who cannot pay cash or use insurance. It really comes down to a question of what type of country do you want to have as far as quality of life is concerned.

Posted by: DCDCSW | January 13, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse


Isn't it worth paying higher taxes to not have health insurance?

Posted by: motorfriend | January 13, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Like Medicare and Medciad-it's a start. Cry baby homself didn't attend the memorial service yesterday-after offered a free ride on Air force One
BAD MOVE BY A SPEAKER!

Posted by: crrobin | January 13, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

So Republicans want to repeal the lives of millions of Americans. What else is new?

Posted by: Maddogg | January 13, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

The question shouldn't simply be:
"Does it Raise or Lower the Deficit?"

The question should be:
"Does it benefit Americans?"

As a matter of public health and even national security, I think a nation of healthy citizens who have access to medical treatment, benefits that nation as a whole.

Posted by: mcgrupp10799 | January 13, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

As Boener Head says "We cannot save your life, as we must balance the budget".

Boener Head also claims hiring hundreds of thousands of new medical techs, nurses, and clericals etc, is a jobs killer.

John, please get off the BOOZE!

Posted by: Maddogg | January 13, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Job killing? I would love to leave my crappy job and start my own business, but I'm stuck, as I need the current employer health plan I am under. Why won't the GOP/Chamber support my ability to buy into a public option? If so, I start my business, and CREATE jobs.

Posted by: finleysteve | January 13, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I am really disappointed in how the media has framed this discussion on health care. They have continually allowed the politician to avoid discussing the real issues. The question is not if you want a Universal system vs a free market one. That was settled when Regan passed EMTALA!! In doing so he created a universal system without paying for it. This has allowed the cost of that care to be divided between the states, the federal government and the insured. The problem is that the burdens on those three groups are growing too quickly because more and more people are going without insurance. To anyone in health care it is obvious that without increasing the pool of people paying into the system the system will fail!! All Obama did was increase that pool. While a single payer system would have been much more desired it was not political tenable because the American people have no idea how their health care system work and to me that is the failure of the media!!

Posted by: soscane | January 13, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

health care for all - when will people understand you either pay for it upfront or in the end. In healthcare we have learned that vaccinations for diseases that are very debilitating works better than treating the infected people in the hospital and much more COST EFFECTIVE.

Average number of times a person is seen in an emergency department in their lifetime = 3. For those people without healthcare the only form of "care" is the use of the emergency department. For the uninsured using the emergency department looks like this: a typical cold gone on too long develops into pneumonia gone untreated, since they don't have healthcare, requiring ultimately hospitalization for 10 + days. So I ask when people don't have health care where do you think the money comes from to pay for the 10 + days of hospitalization???? Don't you think tax payers are already paying for their care??? To think that you are not paying for this please visit your local county hospital and sit in the waiting room of the emergency department. Wouldn't you rather help the uninsured get routine check ups and healthcare so that they are not using the emergency departments for basic care.

Posted by: meg2mck | January 13, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse


With CBO estimates, it's the old junk in, junk out.

The problem with the Health Care Bill is that we are finding out in drips and drabs what is in this Bill.

It should be repealed. The uninsured (those US citizens who want it but can't afford it), number actually about 12 million. The other 18 million are illegal aliens(who do get emergency care), young adults who don't want it and the rich who self-insure.

Why not repeal the Bill and just insure those 12 million but do it by having them make some contribution according to their income.

Posted by: janet8 | January 13, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"The voters of the country need to once and for all decide if they want all Americans insured"

the voters already did. unfortunately the GOP decided the majority of the country was either uninformed or had "buyers remorse" and are now engaged in a repeal effort that amounts to nothing more than political grandstanding.

on a separate note, i'm always tickled with the "repeal obamacare" crowd and their fears of anything resembling socialism. news flash. group health insurance has a very socialist structure and i can bet the bank that YOUR health insurance is being subsidized by those who are younger than you, and those who lead healthier lives than you. i don't think there is anything wrong with it...just wanted to bring it up since some seem to think they're so very self reliant and above any form of assistance from others.

Posted by: jhh123 | January 13, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line: The CBO generally underestimates the costs of Gov welfare type laws y a factor of 10.

In other words, Obamacare will BK the nation.

Posted by: illogicbuster | January 13, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Somebody please tell me: Why must I pay for someone elses healthcare?

Posted by: sportsfan2 | January 13, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

what year do the death panels kick in?
(maybe I should ask Sarah Palin)

Posted by: bozhogg | January 13, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Correct me if I am wrong but I believe they did not account for people going bankrupt, losing the ability to pay for care inevitably end up on the medicaid rolls. Not being an actuary I have no idea how much would be saved but I think it significant considering what is spent on medicaid.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 13, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Republicans just want to agitate. Their concerns over the budget are non-sense. This is the party that spends Trillions of Dollars on Security & Illegal Wiretaps baloney and Trillions more dropping bombs on innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan. All "off-budget" too!

Posted by: Maddogg | January 13, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Somebody please tell me: Why must I pay for someone elses healthcare?
=======
so I assume you also don't pay for someone elses roads? Disaster relief? Foreign aid? Wars you disagree with?
The President's salary? Congresses' health care?
Aid to Haiti? Katrina cleanup?

Posted by: bozhogg | January 13, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

The Republic Party in recent times has shifted into the dog-eat-dog mode. That ideology might have worked in the Caveman Days, or in FoxWorld, but hardly in the real world of modern and civilized nation states.

Some of the wealthier Republic Party pundits have even suggested that we return to the early days of America when only property owners could vote or run for office.

This mindset holds that if you're poor or lose your job, home, pension and savings, it's all your fault, plus you're a lazy bum who just wants government aid.

Sure, there are real lazy bums among us. But most people whose jobs were exported overseas are probably just regular working people, not bums.

The Republic Party's orthodoxy is just twisted and despicable.

Posted by: mongolovesheriff | January 13, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I suppose that if you take the premise that both sides stretch the CBO to their own ends, you should look at what those ends are.
.
GOP = tax cuts for the rich

Dem = health care for everybody


I know which 'end' I prefer. One group is trying to help everybody, the other is lining already well lined pockets.

Posted by: rpixley220 | January 13, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

The GOP really isn't involved in FACTS. They live in a fact-free zone, where only their opinion matters. So, trying to out-argue them on facts is a waste of time. For example, they belive tax cuts don't increase the deficit. Loony-toons.

Posted by: larry9 | January 13, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Any fix of healthcare is problematic. But worse is to return to or maintain the system we have. It is bankrupting the middle class and the nation. Businesses simply cannot afford the insurance model and the nation can ill afford (pun intended,) to put 17 percent of our GDP into healthcare.

So far, one party has tried to find solutions. The GOP has been for little more than punishing attorneys and thereby those with real damages.

Posted by: kcbob | January 13, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Hey, how about this.

We scrap our entire system of health care for profit, shut down the health insurance industry scam once and for all, and go with a single payer, universal coverage health care system similar to what the rest of the civilized, and not so civilized, world enjoys where everybody is covered for nearly everything while saving 1/3 of the cost.

Posted by: rcubedkc | January 13, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

The health care reform law has many good things in it. To repeal it outright without attempting to make the necessary changes is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Republicans seem intent on trying to undermine a President and his vision that was voted into office by the widest margin in many years. Even the 2010 election was no more a vote on Obama than it was a repeal of health care reform. Obama's poll numbers have managed to stay in a respectible range of upper 40% approval.

What is evident is that Republicans have no interest in working with the Democrats to produce the best legislation possible. They pretend that they have all the answers without even showing their hands. I want to see some honest Republican homework.

Posted by: EarlC | January 13, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"It was a law designed to reduce the number of uninsured Americans and (with a little luck) rein in medical costs. Politicians should not pretend otherwise."

There are many Congressmen that voted for this bill basing it on being deficit neutral. Some were re-elected like Gerry Conolly (D-VA) who said he would never vote for something that adds to the deficit. Others stated that they were voting solely because it saves money. They claimed this is fiscally better for the country and insuring more people was a symptom to achieve those directives. I commend you Mr. Kessler for pointing out the false pretense that the supporters of this bill used to accomplish a purely socialist agenda.

Posted by: Bosoxfan | January 13, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

An excellent article on the numbers of the Obamacare debate. However there is another significant argument made by the GOP during the 2010 election about this issue...

Is it Constitutional to mandate that an individual must purchase a private service or be penalitzed by a fee or "tax" ?

I would argue the answer is no according to the 10th Ammendment which reads as follows:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

It would appear that Congress exceeded it's authority over employers & individuals in that regard.

I guess we will have to wait until the federal judge in FL rules on the 21 attorney generals challenge to this specific issue to find out.

Posted by: King2641 | January 13, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

The Health Care bill is light years ahead of the status quo.

Health Care as it stands, threatens to devour our GDP. Thankfully, our president and the Democrat Congress had the cajones to move our nation forward.

Posted by: delantero | January 13, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I have high hopes that the PPACA will save some decent amount of money

1) If insurance is standardized, more things will be covered, and, people will see the doctors for small problems before they become large.

2) Right now we treat people in ER's the most expensive place to do so. If we can pay the costs up front to treat people at Doc-in-the-Box or Minute-Clinics, it will be cheaper.

3) An ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure. If we pay that, we win.

Our current system is full of waste, and inefficiency. Scrub that and we save a fortune. Pity, that wasn't the sole focus of the PPACA

Posted by: patb | January 13, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Here are facts the regressive anarchists do not want you to know, but you could figure it out if you weren't sitting waiting for some pundit to tell you what to think and believe.

The GOP wants health care costs set by the open market. But since the Contract On America deregulated the insurance industry it is anything goes such as premium increases for 50% and more like Blue Shield is imposing.

The premium increases over the last ten years have shown exact correlations in record insurance industry profits year after year.

The insurance lobbyists and industry money people have pumped millions into right-wing political campaigns.

Corporate officer pay for insurance companies are at record levels and growing at record rates.

Denied health service requests are raising at roughly the same rate as profits and premiums.

==========================

News Corp viewers (meaning most right-wingers) are woefully clueless as to what is really happening in the political arena due to the amount of disinformation disseminated by this right-wing propaganda machine and right-wing politicians who have embarrassed themselves on the chamber floors by quoting News Corp reports. Right, Mr. McConnell? The right-wing politicians want all of us to be just as clueless so they can get away with even more crimes against the American people.

Check out this story about academic data misinformed News Corp viewers.

http://tinyurl.com/2aahxam

http://tinyurl.com/3yx3lfg

==========================

Check facts on your on at:

http://mediamatters.org/

http://politifact.com/

Posted by: PoliticalPrisoner2012 | January 13, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"It was a law designed to reduce the number of uninsured Americans and (with a little luck) rein in medical costs. Politicians should not pretend otherwise."

There are many Congressmen that voted for this bill basing it on being deficit neutral. Some were re-elected like Gerry Conolly (D-VA) who said he would never vote for something that adds to the deficit. Others stated that they were voting solely because it saves money. They claimed this is fiscally better for the country and insuring more people was a symptom to achieve those directives. I commend you Mr. Kessler for pointing out the false pretense that the supporters of this bill used to accomplish a purely socialist agenda.

Posted by: Bosoxfan | January 13, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Ok, so the GOP aren't "complete liars" as much as they lie at least 1/2 the time.

As for me, I really don't care if HCR lowers the deficit or not, we need it, and the American People deserve it.

If the GOP doesn't mind one bit spending trillions of dollars on their LIE CALLED THE WAR IN IRAQ, then they shouldn't mind spending the American People's Money ON the American People this time.

Don't tell me Republicans can waste billions and trillions of dollars so that the Bush and Cheney families can own oil fields in Iraq, but the American People who are paying all these bills can't even see a doctor?

B.S.

Posted by: lindalovejones | January 13, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

People being people! If you provide paid for insurance for 30 million more people, then those people aren't "taxing" us all by using the emergency room and driving up the cost of health care even higher. And without provisions for pre-existing conditions, 80% applied money to coverage, and more uniform coverage, the insurance companies will continue to gouge us even worse as well. So, sorry rich people, we're going to even the playing field a bit. Tough cookies!

Posted by: DontGetIt | January 13, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Republicans voted overwhelmingly to give Iraqi's single-payer system at US taxpayer expense, but they wish to deny it to the American people. Republicans are un-patriotic in this time of national health care crisis.

Posted by: Maddogg | January 13, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

The whole discussion about budget deficit and
the health care bill is obscuring the purpose of the bill. It was never meant to be a deficit reduction bill but rather a bill to address the problem that 45 million Americans are uninsured. Much effort was expended to make sure the bill will not increase the deficit, part of the reason it is so convoluted is to make it as deficit neutral as possible. Whether repealing the bill will have an impact on the deficit is hard to predict, but it there is no question it will have an impact on the number of uninsured. It would be irresponsible to repeal that bill without having a replacement in place first. To claim something better will happen after repeal is to ignore how many years it took to produce one that could pass through Congress. The responsible discussion should be how to amend that bill to make it better.

Posted by: serban1 | January 13, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The whole discussion about budget deficit and
the health care bill is obscuring the purpose of the bill. It was never meant to be a deficit reduction bill but rather a bill to address the problem that 45 million Americans are uninsured. Much effort was expended to make sure the bill will not increase the deficit, part of the reason it is so convoluted is to make it as deficit neutral as possible. Whether repealing the bill will have an impact on the deficit is hard to predict, but it there is no question it will have an impact on the number of uninsured. It would be irresponsible to repeal that bill without having a replacement in place first. To claim something better will happen after repeal is to ignore how many years it took to produce one that could pass through Congress. The responsible discussion should be how to amend that bill to make it better.

Posted by: serban1 | January 13, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

And Jesus healed the sick for no charge.

And Boener Head said to the sick, "die quickly".

Posted by: Maddogg | January 13, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

So, the real question is which party's hyperbole is the most creative?
The fact is, the costs of benefits are job killers, with or without healthcare reform. This is particularly true for older workers, whose benefits come at much higher costs.
The solution would be to find a way to sever the unnatural relationship between employment and health benefits, and let the cost of hiring be entirely dependent on the profitably of wage/salary dollars. I don't hear any loud voices on either side offering that solution, do you?

Posted by: OldUncleTom | January 13, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

But wait - don't we have the "Doc Fix" issue whether we have the health care reform bill or not? I wasn't aware there was anything in the bill that had any effect on the "Doc Fix" issue. Even if health care reform is repealed, we will still have to deal with the "Doc Fix" issue. Apples and Oranges, no? Of course, it makes a difference in the health care deficit in general, but not on the effect of Health Care Reform on the deficit - they are not connected in any way I can see.

Posted by: jamminpower | January 13, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Glenn,

While I feel you treated both "sides" of this debate with the appropriate amount of skepticism, placing the two sets of comments juxtaposed against one another seems to me an attempt to create a balance. However, the $1.2 trillion figure that Rep. Weiner came up with is less important than the attempt by Speaker Boehner to undermine CBO's credibility.

The Speaker's level of assault is of most significance. Not only is the charge essentially an attempt to ignore the CBO for narrow political purposes, it could undermine it for any other estimate provided going forward. This would obviously leave the "debate" in worse shape than it already is, as we wouldn't have non-partisan information to judge against partisan claims. Secondly, and more importantly, that the assault is coming from the Speaker means that the party in charge is willing to undermine their own institution to win a political fight. This would reduce the meaning of Congress altogether, and undermine the Speaker's own power. It is irrational at best, pathological at worst. The last thing a democracy needs is a muted legislature.

I know you stick to assessing the facts, avoiding opining on the political implications, but I think you could use a multiplier here and increase the number of Pinocchio's for the Speaker's most corrupting assault. Or at least separate your column into two.

Posted by: beut_d | January 13, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

The GOP are corrupt liars for preserving a status quo that lets insurers profit by excluding the sick.

Do the math on tort reform; If all malpractice suits were banned, medical provider rates would only come down maybe 10-15% on the malpractice insurance savings. Still way too expensive for wage Americans to afford outright, and individual health policies would still be completely out of reach to them.

Duh.

- Balkingpoints / www

Posted by: RField7 | January 13, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

The GOP gets their kicks out of taking away any people's rights. Now they want to get rid of Patient's Rights by killing the Health Care Bill. No wonder the GOP are war mongers -- they enjoy killing people.

Posted by: lddoyle2002 | January 13, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

As of 2008 there were 434,800 insurance salepersons in the US. If the MLR is not repealed there will be hundreds of thousands of jobs lost. I know my commissions have been cut with most major companies I represent like BCBS, World, US Health and United Healthcare and others to 3% on a 7 month advance. This is down from 18-24% before January 1st. I cant live on this. To give you an example, if I sell a policy for 200.00/mo. I make a whopping 42.00 commission. If companies only have 15-20 cents per premium dollar for their expenses, they will be forced to cut jobs. That means underwriters, clerical staff, claims personnel, etc. Then the waiting period to be insured will increase from 2-4 weeks currently to no telling how long. Plus the wait time for doctors to receive payment for their serices will increase as well. This is a bad thing for all of us. There are solutions and concessions that both sides can agree to, but if the MLR is not changed, those of us in this industry are doomed!

Posted by: bparent24 | January 13, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

You state that “The CBO has a respectable track record…”. I suppose that the CBO has nothing to do with our annual deficits of several trillion dollars or our national debt of ten or so times that.
If the CBO has a respectable track record, it would have to be based mostly on issuing, and on later revising, excusing, or ignoring, bum estimates. Its business is to provide a prospectus designed to sell the latest offering, whatever it may be, in a big Ponzi scheme.

Jim

Posted by: swanjame | January 13, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Intrigueing Glenn.

Here's the thing: The "Doc fix" hasn't got anything to do with the Affordable Care Act.

The "Doc fix" is legislation that is passed or not passed by congress each year. It's not in the Bill. It hasnt got anything to do with the bill.

It's just a baldfaced lie from republicans to try to disguise the fact that they are about to add 143 billions to the deficit.

The same thing with the other savings in the ACA. It should be pretty obvious that if you save money or if you increase revenue in a piece of legislation, it doesnt matter if you do so in the area of health care. You still decrease the deficit.

And repealing the legislation WILL increase the deficit by just the amont the CBO says. It DOESNT MATTER if the savings are in "education" because the republicans are repealing the WHOLE bill. Got it?

I can see how republicans have a use for this as spin but its a real disgrace how this can pass as "fact checking"?

Let me do your work for you, THIS is what the american people want to know:

Q: ALL ELSE EQUAL, will the republican repeal of the ACA increase the deficit with 143$ in the next 10 years?

A: Yes.

Posted by: DannyAnderson | January 13, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Obongo Banger

Posted by: TOMHERE | January 13, 2011 6:02 PM | Report abuse

So Mr. Speaker, you only believe the CBO when it is convenient? Congratulations...you are officially the Tea Party's beatch!!

Posted by: stuckintraffictoo | January 13, 2011 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I do agree with Clear_Eye who states that we needed a real honest goodness debate and not the angst in and of political rhetoric setting the tone. Yes it is true all need to participate and preferably with a single-payer option. What galls me is that I have heard nothing regarding how best to lower the cost of health care. Granted I started work 37 years ago, but didn't have to incur the cost of the benefit. I only had co-pays such $5 for a dr. visit and $3 for prescription. Today I'm the cost is $35/wk for the benefit, copays of $25 for a dr. visit and prescriptions can vary from $10 to $125 depending on prescription. Get pre-approved for an out-patient procedure and you pay for the use of patient room for a day...then the hospital comes back to you with a post-audit billing...and then there's the dr. bill. Today companies have shed jobs b/c fringe benefits, of which include medical benefits, are costing them double/triple. For most companies they contribute to part of those benefits, however that ratio keeps changing. So I need to hear a comprehensive plan to drive the costs down or some means by which this current bill can cost employees and employers less. With the lower costs, more and more companies will hire, and new companies/industries can come into existence. So no I don't want window-dressing or a bunch of lies or being side-tracked. What I am asking for is a truthful discussion on the merits of how to lower medical costs...not suppositions. And do understand yes I am for free enterprise, but what can be reasonable for all parties...not just businesses, not just employees...not just hospitals or medical professionals....but for ALL.

You've not presented that so how can one make an informed decision?

Posted by: ewjazzed | January 13, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse

"I do not believe that repealing the job-killing health care law will increase the deficit."

"Job-killing".... Do you, mr "factchecker", view it as your job to make the reader aware when someone pulls something out of their ass in a statement?

Sure, everyone in D.C. knows that Boehner and his pals went to Frank Luntz, and Frank Luntz did some polling and they all agreed on that saying "job-killing" is a winning message when the unemployment is high.

Sure, everyone in D.C. knows that you can assert such things, because the D.C. press is so lazy that even the guy that gets payed to do freaking fact checking will just let it pass, so he can get home early and enjoy the fruits of a salary that is earned by working for the public good.

Posted by: DannyAnderson | January 13, 2011 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Why does Fact Checker take a look at Congress allowing insurance companies to put out ridiculous lists of "reasonable cost" for procedures (of which they pay 50-80%) For instance, a medical procedure may cost $2,000 but the insurance company will say a reasonable cost is $1,000 and then pay $500-800 of that. I once said to an insurance claims person, you tell me the name of the doctor that will charge that and I will go to him. And of course the claims person couldn't because it's all a big lie! And Congress let's insurance companies get away with that - they set local costs for Washington DC and include parts of West Virginia in their averaging!

Posted by: Georgetowner1 | January 13, 2011 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Obama's health care package has already saved lives of American citizens. Who here can put a price tag on that?

All of us need to live up to the expectations our children have for our country. Our children expect us to provide health care to everyone, even if they cannot afford it. Obama's plan does that.
Soon, the fanatics on the right and their sheepish followers who try to use 'Obamacare' as a derogatory reference will realize 'Obamacare' is a positive buzzword for progressives... Just as Social Security and Medicare before it.

Posted by: jgarrisn | January 13, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

@swanjame

The CBO makes estimates, the congress legislates. The congress is responsible for our deficits, the CBO is responsible for making good estimates.

If you want people to disregard the CBOs estimates, then you better be able to show where the CBO did a poor job. Put up or shut up.

Posted by: DannyAnderson | January 13, 2011 6:35 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans don't support ANYTHING unless it puts at least a couple of bucks in their own terminally greedy pockets. Screw the poor, screw the unemployed, screw the sick, screw the elderly, screw America - the Republican mantra.

Posted by: Bushwhacked1 | January 13, 2011 6:47 PM | Report abuse

There are so many false predicates in this debate, it's hard to know where to begin: the 32 million people (remember when it was routine to say 45 million--the real number is closer to 12 million who are really struggling, altho even those 12 million all own HDTVs) are not all currently using the emergency room for their health care. Many are young healthy people like we all once were who might need an aspirin and fluids when they get a cold on occasion, and thus to assume when the uninsured get sick, they all run to a nearby emergency room is simply bogus. 2nd, the World War II subsidy given to employers to offer insurance should be rescinded but like any federal program, it continues to thrive without being seriously questioned. Put aside the mandate issue, the auto insurance industry can be a guide for how to insure risk. Study the history of insurance and you will find there would be plenty of new market based opportunities to provide health insurance. High risk people would have to be placed in high risk pools if they can't afford the premiums commensurate to their risk. And I could go on and on, but let's try and have an honest debate, whoops I must be dreaming or on drugs...

Posted by: michaelhunt277 | January 13, 2011 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey listen,

Repeal of Obamacare will not reduce costs. However it will lose a few important new mandates which makes the neoconservative plan simply dumb.

Reverting back to the status qua will not realize a savings for anyone not even the government. Again the neoconservatives are being dumb. They simply are not the economic giants of our time. There is plenty of history to back that up.


Local,state and federal employees constitute about $1.5 trillion in tax dollars that flow into the cookie jars of the medical insurance industry. That represents a ton of guaranteed profit and wasted medical insurance tax dollars when considering how it is spent.

There is no way to justify spending/wasting health insurance tax dollars on:

* corp jets

* Expensive misinformation campaigns @ $1.4 million a day by the Chamber of Commerce and the medical insurance industry.

* extreme profits to support reckless spending

* high corporate salaries to over 2000 medical insurance providers

* advertising

* billions in over charges ( did you get your refund yet?)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401636.html

*sales commissions

*Shareholders CERTAINLY increases the cost of insurance. Why are health insurance dollars going to shareholders?

*Health care tax dollars becoming special interest campaign dollars. Why are health insurance dollars being spent on political campaigns?

* Golden parachutes (In 2009 CIGNA CEO received a $73 million retirement bonus which is a ton of health care dollars that would cover 6,084 families for one year). Why are health insurance dollars being spent on golden parachutes?


* Politicians as shareholders( conflict of interest or what!):
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/12/AR2009061204075.html

Truly the only way consumers are going to get ahead is to begin paying out of pocket and investing insurance premium dollars wisely to cover expenses. Why contribute to reckless and corrupt spending that finds its way to golden parachutes,over charges,political campaigns,shareholders and corp jets?


Medical insurance is no bargain. Medicare insurance is a bargain and a wise investment which is why it is the best choice for the future. Of course this avenue does not require reinventing the wheel which saves tons and tons of money.

Make IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for ALL one of our choices.

http://www.healthcare-now.org/

Posted by: rheckler2002 | January 13, 2011 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday, I read that the shooter's father does not seem to have a job and his mother works on a job that pays a little more than $20 per hour. If the family does not have health care coverage and he possibly lost his student health insurance after dismissal, how could they get their son treated? Some people only see what they can count, but how can you count the social costs of such tragedies?

If we have Universal Health Care, everyone can be treated at any hospital, clinic, or by any doctor in the country for any illness. The term "network service providers" will become history so does medical bankruptcy. Medical bills make up half of bankruptcies.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6895896/ns/business-personal_finance/

People can go down the wrong path in their life and get lost even without mental illness. Long term unemployment can also trigger serious depression. If they know they can just stop by any health care facility, they can get help immediately. It was so easy to just walk into any walk-in clinic in Canada while I was visiting without their insurance. It’s possible that Jared Loughners might have had moments for the need of help. If medical bills were not the barrier, he might have got help before he got worse.

Universal Health Care will not only help us control health care spending, but it will also save on our social costs. Below is a link for Universal Health Care. You may be surprised Mexico, Peru and other developing and all developed countries have Universal Health Care, while we don’t. Germany started Universal Health Care in 1880’s and they have a very competitive economy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_health_care

The American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) spent more than 31 millions of our premiums on lobbying you and our Congress between 2005 and 2009 against the Public Option.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America’s_Health_Insurance_Plans#Lobbying

Even if you are insured and perfectly happy with your coverage, how can you insure yourself against such tragedies?

In this Independent's opinion, it is terribly wrong to leave our fellow Americans out in the cold with illness they can't control and afford. If we don't control our health care spending with Universal Health Care, more tragedies like this may occur and our economy will simply collapse.

The saddest thing is that those that badly need help by Universal Health Insurance are the easiest target for lobbyists hired by AHIP. The ‘Discredit our government’ strategy has worked well so we would prefer private insurers to any government-run plans. Never mind all seniors I know can’t wait to get on Medicare. We can expand our Medicare by adding younger people to make it more sustainable. Some may say the young can't sub for the old, but we all grow old some day.

Perhaps we should call our reformed health care the G2Care or Giffords Care. Nobody in the world had to take a shot through their head for fighting to get health care to others. Thanks!

Posted by: dummy4peace | January 13, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

The numbers can be looked at from any angle..they do not make any sense. Obamas agenda is simple and the vehicle does not matter. Control and collapse...control of all aspects of our society and collapse of the economy and country. If you look closely at the Health Care bill or Financial Reform bill or all the directives and executive orders they all lead to the same horrible conclusion. Check out Saul Alinsky, Cloward & Piven or Obamas background. We need a serious debate on the direction of this country but the Progressives are cowards and will not expose their real agenda YET.

Posted by: psutopgun | January 13, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

We need a voter revolt by collecting names and vote these nuts out of office at will

Let me tell you about the tax break...My income tax went up and SS went down. One offset the other. rich folks got a big break with the % difference in their pay.

I can see a health care plan that is created by nuts that can not add or subtract and think the American people are idiots...

Posted by: billisnice | January 13, 2011 7:27 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: addjian16 | January 13, 2011 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Based on a generally accepted societal prevalence rate of 0.5%, among the 30 million people this law ill put onto health insurance are 150,000 Americans with schizophrenia. Do John Boehner and the GOP REALLY want to keep them off their medications because they can't afford them?

Who will that hurt? Just the people denied health insurance, or families with 9-year-old girls visiting their neighborhood Safeway on a Saturday? Think well on this one, John. It may be your family caught in the cross fire next time. We don't know how many of those 150,000 schizophrenics are potential Jared Loughners, but do you really want to find out?

Posted by: B2O2 | January 13, 2011 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Where are the JOBS?

They waste time on stuff like this but not on creating US jobs for Americans.

Reauthorize H1-B visas for foreigners to work in the US - but not for Americans who are unemployed.

JOBS!

You owe us 500,000 US jobs for November.

You owe us 500,000 US jobs for December.

And now you owe us 500,000 US jobs for January.

GET BACK TO WORK, you America-hating Republics!

Posted by: WillSeattle | January 13, 2011 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Republicans need to forget repealing the health care bill. Add to it, fix it, modify it, improve it, fine. But people in this country deserve what the people of every other developed country has and that's health care.

Posted by: MNUSA | January 13, 2011 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Somebody please tell me: Why must I pay for someone elses healthcare?

Posted by: sportsfan2

===================

You have been and you will continue to do so. It doesn't make any difference if it's repealed or not repealed. One way or another you'll pay. You can choose whether it comes out of your right pocket or your left pocket or it's taken out by a pick pocket. You might even have an input on whether it's less or more.

You could take the Jan Brewer approach to health care. Cash up front. No cash, no treatment. Or who was that politician that suggested you trade an MRI for a chicken?

Posted by: James10 | January 13, 2011 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Let me answer your question sportsfan2 "Why must I pay for someone elses healthcare?". By common consensus we as a society have decided certain services are a basic right to be paid for by all. These include: education, police protection, fire protection, emergency medical and rescue service, national defense, a road system, a park system, and numerous others including healthcare for the 65+. How does healthcare differ from the previouly listed services/rights?

Posted by: ThomasW1 | January 13, 2011 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Its astonishing how the bvrainwashed liberals expect everything "FREE" - eventually they run out of other peoples money.
What about personal responibility? Taking care of your own kids, not smoking crack or eating all that food that food stamps supply? How about taking vare of yourself instead of nanny goverment confiskating workers money to be your "GOD".
Liberals are like children that never leave home.

Posted by: eviltaxpayer | January 13, 2011 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Posted by outsider6 on January 13, 2011 @ 1:00 PM: “Health CARE is available to all -- those without insurance are simply required to pay out of pocket for the costs incurred for that care.”

Wow, for sheer cynicism that remark matches the famous one claiming that a law forbidding sleeping under bridges is fair since it applies to rich and poor equally. The point, of course, is that the poor have nowhere else to sleep, and the rich wouldn’t be caught dead sleeping there.

Outsider, a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce is also available to all - if they can afford it. How many poor people do you know get driven around that way?

And by the way, someone too poor to pay for their medical care can still receive EMERGENCY care, and when they can’t pay for it guess who does? The taxpayer!

Posted by: Junk456 | January 13, 2011 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Yet another "opinions on shape of the earth differ" bit of nonsense from the Post.

We pay double what any other country in the world pays for healthcare and our outcomes are lousy. If we could cut this cost to anything near what any other country pays, we'd have budget surpluses as far as the eye can see.

It's fascinating that the Post's Fact Checker thinks a Democratic Congressman's CBO-based projection about savings in the second decade are absurd, while a Republican Congressman's outright falsehoods about the doc fix (which will contribute to the deficit regardless of whether health care reform had ever passed) are somehow equivalent.

Meanwhile the newspaper he works for wants Social Security, which doesn't face a funding shortfall until 2037 at the earliest, to be cut now, now, now!!!

No surprise really, just the usual dishonesty that has characterized the Post's journalism since the day Kay Graham died.

Posted by: gorillam | January 13, 2011 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Somebody please tell me: Why must I pay for someone elses healthcare?

Posted by: sportsfan2

and "Its astonishing how the bvrainwashed liberals expect everything "FREE" - eventually they run out of other peoples money.
What about personal responibility? POSTED by eviltaxpayer

====================================

First for sportsfan2 -- why must I pay for professional sports facilities that I NEVER VISIT. Better yet and following YOUR thought process - why should I pay for schools as I have no children? MY ANSWER - because it is for the PUBLIC GOOD. And that is why you should be willing to pay for health care.

Second for eviltaxpayer -- responsibility is not to be found on the right. You are the folks that insist on giving subsidies to the oil companies when they are reporting record profits. You are the folks that hold up unemployment so you can borrow $700 billion for tax cuts for the wealthy.
If the right was responsible they would admit that our national debt was brought to us by three GOP presidents -- not Obama!

If the right was responsible they would admit that "family values" are hardly a right wing value given their propensity for adultery. toilet trolling, page chasing, and other non "family values" behavior.

Posted by: Freethotlib | January 13, 2011 9:49 PM | Report abuse

It is incorrect to assume anybody that wants Universal Health Care for ALL be a liberal. I am an Independent, who is a financial conservative as well as a social liberal. I am well insured through my work, but I also want to be sure that my fellow Americans are offered health care that I have.

First, we as the biggest melting pot in the world especially need to support our sovereignty as one country.

Second, we simply cannot afford not to adopt Universal Health Care, when we already spent 16% of our GDP in 2007. We are not reinventing wheels. All other developed countries have figured this out long ago. Germany started the first Universal Health Care in 1880's. Their economy is more competitive than ours today.

Third, Universal Health Care can hold down health care spending and help us compete globally.

Our government adopted the Canadian Medicare as our own for our seniors - the oldest, riskiest group of our population. What a fantastic job Uncle Sam has done for Medicare - a government-run health care plan at the lowest cost insuring the oldest population!

If we expand our Medicare by adding younger healthier groups to it, it will become much more sustainable quickly. There is reasonable fear that our Medicare may not sustain itself as people live longer and medicine gets more advanced and expensive. These young people will help pay for the seniors now and reap the benefits when they get old. It's a win-win solution.

The only loser will be the private insurance industry, which spends between 30 to 50% of our premiums on profits, CEO pays, lobbying, promotion, screening non-profitable subscribers out, which are called administrative costs. Do you know that Taiwan under their Universal Health Care System only spends 2% of their premiums on administrative costs?

No wonder AHIP spent more than 31 millions on lobbying against the Public Option. Some Republicans were very worried that the Public Option would squeeze private insurers out of business. Is insurance corporate health more important than people's health?

Any insured pool benefits from a larger pool for spreading risk. All other developed countries' universal health insurance systems have proven for decades (or hundreds of years in Germany) that the larger the insured pool, the more sustainable the insurance plan becomes. Thanks for reading this far!
What do you think?

Posted by: dummy4peace | January 13, 2011 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line:

Republicans want to continue tranffering 17% of our GDP to insurance companies.

Why not, members of congress have life time health and pension benefits "We The Small People" are forced to pay for.

It's a game of "We Got Ours" and you don't get to play.
*********************
More classic liberal talking points. Health insurance is one of the least profitable industries, is highly regulated (even before ACA), and generally a miserable business to be engaged in. But liberals like to claim that industry execs make millions, and profits are in the billions! Although I find it hard to believe many people are worth a salary of $1M a year, I can think of many other [liberal] people that make far more for doing far less. Where is the populist anger??! Insurance companies are in the business of mitigating risk, not treating people. Doctors treat people and demand high wages to do so. We dedicate 17% of GDP to health care - not insurance companies. But liberals don't want to blame doctors-it's easier to blame insurance companies and vilify their executives. Their logic is like vilifying the grocery stores for high food prices. It will soon be a moot point, however, as the government gets farther and farther into the insurance business. Soon liberals will be fighting with their own government about why costs are rising, and their only "feel good" solution will be to tax the rich some more - entirely ignoring WHY costs are actually going up.

Liberals are a one trick pony, but that pony is getting old and feeble.

Posted by: dnara | January 13, 2011 10:39 PM | Report abuse

In Australia we have had a scheme called Medicare which is a 1.5% tax surcharge on all income over a base level. This has been operating for nearly 30 years and provides fully funded universal health care to everyone. Anyone can go to a public hospital or their local doctor and receive health care equal to the best in the world with little, if any, out of pocket expenses. You can supplement Medicare with affordable health insurance, about $250 month for a family, and get coverage for private treatment, dental, optical, fitness club and many other benefits too. Australians enjoy a better health care system than the USA. Life expectancy is many years greater, top five in the world at 81.2 years versus USA at number 36 and 78.3 years, obesity is a problem, but much less than in the USA and other factors like smoking, motor accident trauma, heart disease, some cancers and firearm injuries are all significantly lower. What puzzles everyone down here is why people get so upset about the government making sure health care is freely available to everyone. If the provision of other essential services such as school education, police, defence, fire brigades and so on was operated in the same way there would be total chaos. Imagine having to show the fire brigade that you were insured before they would put the fire out in your house or the police sending you a bill after you call them and have that make you bankrupt. What makes health care different to every thing else? Your system is crazy and has failed you for decades. Take a look at Australia, New Zealand, Canada, EU and see how to look after people better.

Posted by: MartinSydneyAU | January 13, 2011 11:42 PM | Report abuse

This is not fact checking... This is opinion. The writer gets three Pinocchios!

Posted by: stargatepl | January 14, 2011 4:13 AM | Report abuse

I see that the liberals are having trouble with America's 11/2 rejection of them and obama

America has put a limit on the mooch freebies at the cost to my kids and grandkids

Posted by: M_Algore | January 14, 2011 4:31 AM | Report abuse

Enough to make you want to cry. Right Mr. Speaker.

Posted by: eaglehawkaroundsince1937 | January 14, 2011 5:08 AM | Report abuse

A good faith but tenuous estimate of budget impact is just as bad as an entirely fabricated falsehood? When will you people stop drawing false equivalences? Have the guts to call the GOP liars and face down their bleats about the "liberal media." It's not your fault that the facts have a well-known liberal bias.

Posted by: Blackfish50 | January 14, 2011 6:59 AM | Report abuse

In Australia we have had a scheme called Medicare which is a 1.5% tax surcharge on all income over a base level. This has been operating for nearly 30 years and provides fully funded universal health care to everyone. Anyone can go to a public hospital or their local doctor and receive health care equal to the best in the world with little, if any, out of pocket expenses. You can supplement Medicare with affordable health insurance, about $250 month for a family, and get coverage for private treatment, dental, optical, fitness club and many other benefits too. Australians enjoy a better health care system than the USA. Life expectancy is many years greater, top five in the world at 81.2 years versus USA at number 36 and 78.3 years, obesity is a problem, but much less than in the USA and other factors like smoking, motor accident trauma, heart disease, some cancers and firearm injuries are all significantly lower. What puzzles everyone down here is why people get so upset about the government making sure health care is freely available to everyone. If the provision of other essential services such as school education, police, defence, fire brigades and so on was operated in the same way there would be total chaos. Imagine having to show the fire brigade that you were insured before they would put the fire out in your house or the police sending you a bill after you call them and have that make you bankrupt. What makes health care different to every thing else? Your system is crazy and has failed you for decades. Take a look at Australia, New Zealand, Canada, EU and see how to look after people better.

Posted by: MartinSydneyAU | January 13, 2011 11:42 PM | Report abuse
==============================
Because sir, we here in the only God blessed nation on earth are convinced that is the sure step to becoming a godless athiestic communist dictatorship like those nations you described......'er... or something like that.

Posted by: RealConservative | January 14, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Republican opposition is not based on any sort of accounting, or even rationality, since there is no chance of getting this by the Senate or the White House. They simply want to demonstrate to their dim-witted followers that they are still determined to defeat the evil black man who's stolen their country. Then when they cave in on everything else and as the deficit spirals out of control, they can remind them that they tried.

Posted by: DaveHarris | January 14, 2011 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Newbies in Congress, by the time we (Republicorp)drag this out and get nothing else done your lifetime benefits will have kicked in!

Posted by: ohwell1 | January 14, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

For dnara -

Private health insurance companies are run by their executives. They are simply supposed to maximize return to their stockholders, not to provide efficient health care. By performing well, maximizing return, they help themselves because then they are rewarded with obscene compensation packages. For example, in 2006, the president, Bill Mcguire, of United HealthCare was caught with his hand in the till, some kind of option swindle. He was forced to resign. His compensation for that year was $148 Million. In spite of his transgressions, he was awarded a pension plan that costed out at $1.5 Billion. Now this is an extreme case, but $20 Million compensations are still commonplace in the industry, and executive can see Bill Mcguire as a possibility, as the pot of gold, so they will lie, spin, misrepresent and spend millions to keep their scam going.

So how do they maximize return to stockholders? They have learned that Wall Street rewards the companies if they have a low Medical Loss Ratio (MLR), which is the percent of their expenditures that goes to medical benefits for patients. This means they want to pay out as little as possible, and that they do not mind spending money for high compensation, high overhead, underwriting costs, etc. as long as it does not increase the amount they pay for benefits. For the large insurers, MLR's run around 70% to 80%. Now the Federal part of Medicare has an MLR of about 95% while the health care systems of other industrialized countries are in excess of 95%. This means that if we were to switch to an universal government run system as all other industrialized countries have, we would save about $200 BILLION each and every year just from the non-medical cost of the private companies.

But there is more. In order to reduce their MLR, the companies put obstacles in the way pf physicians and patients. These compliance costs primarily consist of onerous paperwork and simply not paying. This causes physicians and patients to spend money filling out the forms and fighting with the companies to get paid. For example a recent Commonwealth Fund study shows that patients have 3 times as many problems with both coverage and billing with private insurers as they do with Medicare. These compliance costs have been conservatively computed to be another $200 BILLION a year we would save with a more efficient system. For example in France, each person has a smart card which he gives to the doctor which not only downloads his records to the doctor, but completely takes care of billing. By law the payment must be made within two weeks.

All other industrialized countries have some form of universal government run health care. They get better care as measured by all 16 of the bottom line public health statistics, and they do it at half the cost per person. If our system were as efficient, we would save about $1.3 TRILLION each year.

Posted by: lensch | January 14, 2011 8:45 AM | Report abuse

how does more spending decrease the deficit...
and after pelosi's reign can the cbo even be trusted...
the deficit may go up either way...
until the way things are done change...

Posted by: DwightCollins | January 14, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse

The republicans and democrats need to work together and not one overshadowing the other. Throw away the arrogance that we see too much off.
They can start with having respect for one another and the office that each hold.

All need to throw away the nasty rhetoric for votes from dissenters. Why would a government want to adopt words from hate groups anyway. This creates only a toxic atmosphere which brings crazies out of the woodwork.

Our government needs to take accountability for their behavior. When you have leaders call the president a liar for the world to see --you just lost respect and dismantled the country and the world. When clearly these leaders lied instead. This was a terrible disgrace for leaders to do.

Since they publicly defamed the president then they need to publicly show support and respect and apologize. Let there be an example of honor from our leaders.

Posted by: mac7 | January 14, 2011 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Check this real FACT...the Constitution does give the government the power to provide healthcare. Any stretch using either the commerce or general welfare clause flies against the logic of the enumerate powers. If those clauses were intended to be so open-ended or expansive, then what was the purpose of specifically detailing the powers. It is not the role of the USG to provide healthcare, but to ensure an economic environment of open competetition and appropriate criminal code for the citizenry to conduct an open exchange of goods and services (medical care being a service). The entire debate on Obamacare is moot, because its foundations are fundamentally fissured with unconstitutional mandates and taxation. I choose to be my brother's keeper through my donations and service in the community--having it filtered through the USG only invites inefficiency and corruption in its use to secure patronage, dependency, and favor. Meanwhile, removing my control severs my connection to the recipient and robs me of the blessings of giving (since I have no "choice" but to relinquish my property) serving to demotivate and dehumanize our society. If people want the USG to be their charitable organization, then let them "donate" to a special fund for providing healthcare or welfare in a special account...but let me make my own decisions on my giving and my own soul.

Posted by: talonflier | January 14, 2011 9:14 AM | Report abuse

If the quesiton is - who's telling the truth about cost of the Health Care legislation - I don't see how you can rate both parties the same. Their terminology (job-killing) is over the top and they may have done the same thing ten years ago on another bill (tax cuts), but if we are judging health care costs, by your own words it looks like they are much more truthful. Each bill has to be judged on its own.

Posted by: sparman | January 14, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

The CBO may be the official umpire, but that doesn't mean that it has any credibility with any of its forecasts. Anyone who believes the CBO or anyone else can tell us what budget expenses will be three years from now, let alone 10 or 20 years from now is completely delusional. As for PAYGO, it was routinely dismissed by House Democrats who rushed to make it a rule. Which means that congress repeatedly engages in shell games ... to the ruin of the nation.

History is not always accurate, but it is a better guide than anything economists offer in the way of predictions. And our history shows that any cost estimate offered by our politicians, with or without CBO estimates, will likely be less than half of the actual cost. They're all lying.

Posted by: infuse | January 14, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Let's hope that Republicans voting to repeal health care, will reject the same health care that they receive .. paid for by American tax payers. Hypocrites.

Republicans won't be happy until only the rich can afford health care.

Posted by: bozhogg | January 14, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

good morning,

It is not a "battle" is it? A "debate" or a "dialogue" is clearly a better choice of words. Agreed?

take care

Posted by: LulingRanchers | January 14, 2011 10:19 AM | Report abuse

if we stop paying the r&d costs of new equipment and procedures to pay for these equipment and procedures for people in far away lands, the costs will go down...
also...
wapo lost credibility for being fair when they stated they lean left...
wapo can't be honest...
or fair...

Posted by: DwightCollins | January 14, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

This "fact check" doesn't have its facts straight.

First the doc-fix should not be included in cost estimate because these are costs that the government accrues whether or not the health care bill is implemented. This is really basic accounting.

Second the spending costs are offset based on pay-go rules so that should not be included either.

Third, fact check argues that focusing on numbers is "silly" because the estimates could be wrong. That is just the dumbest argument I have ever heard. Why bother having cost estimates at all?

This obscures a larger point that Mr "fact check" is missing. While it is true that the estimate is almost certainly wrong, unless you believe that the CBO is biased towards under-counting cost estimates--and there is absolutely no evidence to support this claim--the CBO estimate is just as likely to under-estimate the savings from the health-care bill. That's right, the HC bill has an equal likelihood of saving over 1.2 trillion over 20 years.

Unlike this "fact check" I believe it is entirely appropriate for members of congress to use figures from the CBO to sell their policies. There is nothing "dishonest" about this.

Posted by: ekenney1 | January 14, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

This "fact check" doesn't have its facts straight.

First the doc-fix should not be included in cost estimate because these are costs that the government accrues whether or not the health care bill is implemented. This is really basic accounting.

Second the spending costs are offset based on pay-go rules so that should not be included either.

Third, fact check argues that focusing on numbers is "silly" because the estimates could be wrong. That is just the dumbest argument I have ever heard. Why bother having cost estimates at all?

This obscures a larger point that Mr "fact check" is missing. While it is true that the estimate is almost certainly wrong, unless you believe that the CBO is biased towards under-counting cost estimates--and there is absolutely no evidence to support this claim--the CBO estimate is just as likely to under-estimate the savings from the health-care bill. That's right, the HC bill has an equal likelihood of saving over 1.2 trillion over 20 years.

Unlike this "fact check" I believe it is entirely appropriate for members of congress to use figures from the CBO to sell their policies. There is nothing "dishonest" about this.

Posted by: ekenney1 | January 14, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

The GOP mantra used to be about "unfunded mandates," imposed by Democratic administrations. Fine. So why don't they combine the repeal of the health care law with a repeal of the requirement that hospitals must care for people without health insurance or the ability to pay up-front. Isn't that an unfunded mandate!

Posted by: kenarmy | January 14, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Just a question if anyone would know the answer. Under this new Health Care Bill what would happen if someone who is covered by this plan would they get the same care as he or she gets now with the same head shot Or would some one in an office decide?

Posted by: freedon | January 14, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

The Health Care Bill stinks right? It was an effort by the Democrats to put something in place because 8 years plus the Republicans did nothing with health care...now that something is on the books the republicans think that all the general public think its bad?...when in realty only most republicans think its bad? Didn't 53% vote for Obama to do something about Health care , wars etc...he did that and worked to put forth a plan for health care...All I saw was republicans tearing down a plan...BUT where was their plan?

To clear the path for health care which I think it IS needed...we should realize that currently American tax dollars go to help the fight wars we shouldn't be in...police and fund every country that asks, pay for other countries disasters, WHY NOT FUND a Helath care program that helps U.S. citizens with our tax dollars...in fact have the health program mirror what the politicians get for free from us taxpayers (they'd never vote that in!) you talk about socialism in its purest form...non working S.O.B.s on Capitol Hill getting free Health Care...

Posted by: ws50599 | January 14, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

The Health Care Bill stinks right? It was an effort by the Democrats to put something in place because 8 years plus the Republicans did nothing with health care...now that something is on the books the republicans think that all the general public think its bad?...when in realty only most republicans think its bad? Didn't 53% vote for Obama to do something about Health care , wars etc...he did that and worked to put forth a plan for health care...All I saw was republicans tearing down a plan...BUT where was their plan?

To clear the path for health care which I think it IS needed...we should realize that currently American tax dollars go to help the fight wars we shouldn't be in...police and fund every country that asks, pay for other countries disasters, WHY NOT FUND a Helath care program that helps U.S. citizens with our tax dollars...in fact have the health program mirror what the politicians get for free from us taxpayers (they'd never vote that in!) you talk about socialism in its purest form...non working S.O.B.s on Capitol Hill getting free Health Care...

Posted by: ws50599 | January 14, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

The Health Care Bill stinks right? It was an effort by the Democrats to put something in place because 8 years plus the Republicans did nothing with health care...now that something is on the books the republicans think that all the general public think its bad?...when in realty only most republicans think its bad? Didn't 53% vote for Obama to do something about Health care , wars etc...he did that and worked to put forth a plan for health care...All I saw was republicans tearing down a plan...BUT where was their plan?

To clear the path for health care which I think it IS needed...we should realize that currently American tax dollars go to help the fight wars we shouldn't be in...police and fund every country that asks, pay for other countries disasters, WHY NOT FUND a Helath care program that helps U.S. citizens with our tax dollars...in fact have the health program mirror what the politicians get for free from us taxpayers (they'd never vote that in!) you talk about socialism in its purest form...non working S.O.B.s on Capitol Hill getting free Health Care...

Posted by: ws50599 | January 14, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

The Health Care Bill stinks right? It was an effort by the Democrats to put something in place because 8 years plus the Republicans did nothing with health care...now that something is on the books the republicans think that all the general public think its bad?...when in realty only most republicans think its bad? Didn't 53% vote for Obama to do something about Health care , wars etc...he did that and worked to put forth a plan for health care...All I saw was republicans tearing down a plan...BUT where was their plan?

To clear the path for health care which I think it IS needed...we should realize that currently American tax dollars go to help the fight wars we shouldn't be in...police and fund every country that asks, pay for other countries disasters, WHY NOT FUND a Helath care program that helps U.S. citizens with our tax dollars...in fact have the health program mirror what the politicians get for free from us taxpayers (they'd never vote that in!) you talk about socialism in its purest form...non working S.O.B.s on Capitol Hill getting free Health Care...

Posted by: ws50599 | January 14, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

If this Congressional Budget Office is so all-seeing and accurate, how come they didn't forecast the recession and get Congress to adopt policies to avert it. The CBO is a creature of Congress, and as such, a political institution. It does not speak with the voice of Clio and makes huge errors in its forecasts. Why should we rely on CBO's projections when they have been so innaccurate?

Posted by: edwardallen54 | January 14, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Hey, how about this.

We scrap our entire system of health care for profit, shut down the health insurance industry scam once and for all, and go with a single payer, universal coverage health care system similar to what the rest of the civilized, and not so civilized, world enjoys where everybody is covered for nearly everything while saving 1/3 of the cost.

Posted by: rcubedkc | January 13, 2011 3:38 PM

---------------------------------------------

You are so right. However, you forgot to mention that the For Profit Health care Lobby is a very strong player with the GOP.

Hence, Public Option, Cost Control and the most needed Procedure Cost Control has been taken out of the original bill.

It's much easier to drop a policy for pre-existing condition than to pay for the treatment.

It's lunatic that an employee changing jobs loses his HEALTH INSURANCE coverage, unless opts to pay for the out rages COBRA premiums.

Getting laid off also leads to loss of coverage. Criminal

Posted by: mackiejw | January 14, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse


The CBO is no longer non partisan. They have sacrificed their credibility for the Democrats. The very funding mechanism of the health care reform is under credible legal assault but the CBO, in a very partisan decision, has decided how that will resolve itself in order to issue any financial prognostications. Lord knows what other assumptions they made.

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 14, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Universal Health Care will create productive jobs as our economy recovers from wasteful ineffective spending on health care and thus makes American made products much more competitive globally. Health benefits for union members are almost half of their pays. It will be a lot of cost reduction for American made products.

Universal Health Care will then reduce our deficits as well as our trade imbalance.
Thanks!
From an Independent.

Posted by: dummy4peace | January 14, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

The only sensible comparison for the health care legislation in terms of cost/savings is to projections of what health care expenditures, both public and private, will cost the nation in the absence of the legislation over the same time period. It doesn't seem that your figures demonstrated that comparison. CBO projections have shown how leaving the health care "system" intact as of 2009 would bust both public and private budgets, making health care something that NEEDS to be addressed.

As for cost reduction, it's unfortunate that some of the cost offsets have nothing to do with health care - they should not be in this legislation. That said, they may have been a replacement for medical related cost savings that were in the original bill and that republicans and some blue dogs railed against, lied about, and misrepresented:
a) EVERYONE (the original bill only referred to seniors) of legal age should be required (the original bill did not require) to have an end of life plan to avoid situations such as the Terri Schiavo case which end up costing the relevant parties in lawyer's fees and anguish, and to some degree the rest of us, plus the spectacle of congress and the president sticking their noses where they don't belong. Having medicare pay for it every 5 years, as the bill stated, for those on medicare, and even having private insurance pay for it at life-change points for younger people should have been a no-brainer. There never was any aspect of "pulling the plug on granny". Moreover, in April 2008, then gov. Palin had an official day for end of life discussions in Alaska - it used to be on the governor's website but no longer is.
b) taxing those with employer provided insurance makes sense as it is part of their income, but republicans, blue dogs and businesses whined and whined until it was out of the bill - they don't whine about health care costs and insurance premiums going up every year, however, and either taking a bigger chunk out of people's pay or reducing benefits to account for the rising costs.
c) currently for many procedures and conditions, there is no information on best practices because the research has not been done, so medical providers have little to go on in determining treatments; funding and evaluating such research by individuals without a vested interest to offer providers guidelines, part of the original legislation, should have been a no-brainer but was called "death panels".

Republicans and blue dogs could have helped make the bill better in terms of cost savings and countering the actual shortcomings of the legislation, but as we know, their goal is retaking all the marbles rather than doing what's best for the country, and they're willing to destroy the country in the process. When you have to lie to get what you want, something is wrong.

Posted by: swatter | January 14, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. Term Limits.
12 years only, one of the possible options below..
A. Two Six-year Senate terms
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

2. No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social
Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social
Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional
pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in
the same health care system as the American people.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.

The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen.
Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.
Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers
envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s),
then go home and back to work.

Posted by: ws50599 | January 14, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Frustrating article. It opens up the technical discussion of the details and does a competent job on some parts, then totally whiffs on things like explaining $400 billion in cash flow savings and how the rules work on the doc fix.

Posted by: abrbig | January 15, 2011 6:23 PM | Report abuse

for someone who pretends to be a disinterested 'fact checker', i'd give this column five pinnochios. the inclusion of the 'doc fix' in questioning the c.b.o.'s numbers is nothing more than boehner-mcconnell bull. i'd recommend dr. krugmann's 1-16 ("the war on logic") column for a devastating demolition of this particular distortion. furthermore, before i'd question the c.b.o.'s answers, i'd at least offer some coherent criticism of their methods. there is none in this column which leads to the obvious conclusion: just as boehner does when confronted with the truth, kesssler refuses to believe it.

Posted by: jimfilyaw | January 18, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

The "Doc fix" is not actually part of reform, it is a cost that would be incurred whether the health care reform law passed or not. So it needs to be excluded from these discussions, as Paul Krugman recently pointed out: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/17/opinion/17krugman.html?scp=6&sq=krugman&st=cse

Posted by: jgkoomey | January 18, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

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