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Posted at 5:05 PM ET, 01/26/2011

Rep. Paul Ryan 1, ObamaCare 0

By Jennifer Rubin

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) held an important hearing on ObamaCare, showing just how important is the process for educating the public, and thereby setting defenders of ObamaCare back on their heels.

As he did last night, Ryan explained the contrast between how the two parties approach health care:

"Do we empower consumers, or do we price-control from the government? What works best? ... Medicare is the biggest driver of our debt. We're all kidding ourselves if we think the program can just go on as is, and the sooner we address this the better off everybody is -- the better we can guarantee my mom, who's been on it for a number of years, and everybody else's mom and dad, can have the program they organized their lives around, and that future retirees have a program they actually can count on. That's the purpose of this particular bill that I introduced, and that's hopefully the purpose of what we're all trying to achieve."

But it was Richard Foster, the chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who delivered a devastating blow to the ObamaCare supporters' claims of fiscal discipline.

First, came Foster's assault on the double-counting utilized in theCBO scoring:

REP. JOHN CAMPBELL(R- Calif.): "Is it legitimate to say... that you can add a dozen years to the solvency of Medicare or that you can reduce the deficit, but it is not correct to say both simultaneously?"

FOSTER: "Both will happen as a result of the same one set of savings, under Medicare. But it takes two sets of money to make it happen. It happens directly for the budget deficit, from the Medicare savings, and then when we need the money to extend the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, we have a promissory note - it's an IOU, not a worthless IOU, but it is an IOU - and Treasury has to pay that money back. But they have to get it from somewhere. That's the missing link."

Then he endorsed the idea behind Roadmap for America as a superior cost-savings mechanism. He also threw cold water on those touting ObamaCare as a way to save money. The A.P. reported:

Two of the central promises of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law are unlikely to be fulfilled, Medicare's independent economic expert told Congress on Wednesday.

The landmark legislation probably won't hold costs down, and it won't let everybody keep their current health insurance if they like it, Chief Actuary Richard Foster told the House Budget Committee. His office is responsible for independent long-range cost estimates. . . .

Foster was asked by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., for a simple true or false response on two of the main assertions made by supporters of the law: that it will bring down unsustainable medical costs and will let people keep their current health insurance if they like it.

On the costs issue, "I would say false, more so than true," Foster responded.

And as if all that was not enough, there was this exchange:

McCLINTOCK: "The other promise... was the promise that if you like your plan, you can keep it. True or false?"

FOSTER: "Not true in all cases."

James Capretta, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, also testified and observed the full hearing. In response to my inquiry as to the main take-away, he e-mailed, "The most important thing said [by Foster] today: in so many words, moving toward defined contribution health care has more potential than price controls to bring about real efficiency gains and higher productivity in the health sector, and slow the pace of rising costs. That's a very big deal." And a very big blow to the credibility of ObamaCare cheerleaders.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 26, 2011; 5:05 PM ET
Categories:  Obamacare  
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Like it or not Jennifer. Obamacare isn't going anywhere.

So forget your little score board. It's already Game, Set and Match Obamacare.

Posted by: Shingo1 | January 26, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Why bother commenting on this filth, it's just an opinion.

Posted by: blklez6 | January 26, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Congressman Paul Ryan is arguably the most overrated person, place, or thing in the United States today. He needs to visit with Bill Clinton if he wants to balance the budget. Clinton's done it.

Posted by: danw1 | January 26, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Great post. This is dynamite and should blow up the lies foisted on the American people by Obama and his minions in the MSM. Even if the MSM do not carry this very legitimate news story (they would if they were true journalists), the alternative media will trumpet this. Obviously, O-care is not going to disappear overnight, but over time the truth will erode this monstrosity. This is just the beginning. 2012 cannot come soon enough. We woke up from our national nightmare last November; now we move on to correct the harm inflicted on the American people, piece by piece; we will bury what's left after 2012.

Posted by: DocC1 | January 26, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

If Obama goes before Obamacare goes into full effect, it's a pretty good bet that Obamacare will go with him. So much hinges on who wins the Presidency in 2012 ...

Posted by: meta-materialist | January 26, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Is there somewhere where the average citizen can watch this access this hearing in full, or access a transcript of it?


Posted by: Beagle1 | January 26, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Aw, Jimf did not disappoint. Reminds me of my early days as a junior high school teacher of emotionally disturbed kids: could always count of the Jimf's to liven up the day. Of course, his anti-semitic comment in another post reveals even something much darker and sinister.

And B-6 above judges opinions (obviously not his/hers) as filth--very revealing, from a Freudian perspective.

Posted by: DocC1 | January 26, 2011 6:14 PM | Report abuse

What's unsustainable won't be sustained. While a tautology, this maxim applies to the entire actuarially dishonest structure of entitlements constructed over the past few generations and topped by the unaffordable, unworkable ObamaCare. As with any Ponzi scheme, eventually you run out of new suckers. The Boomers are starting to retire now and expecting their benefits.

False narratives and promises based on them can win elections, but they can't change reality. Hard facts must be faced eventually. Obama wants to coax one more election victory out of this teetering structure before it collapses. The public indicated last November that it's not that stupid.

I wish Obama had the courage and integrity to take on this looming fiscal disaster, but he seems more interested in laying a trap for the Republicans. The Hope and Change guy is just another cheap politician looking toward the next election.

Posted by: eoniii | January 26, 2011 6:17 PM | Report abuse

@danw1: "...He needs to visit with Bill Clinton if he wants to balance the budget. Clinton's done it...."

Sorry buddy, but you get an F in History. The Republicans balanced the budget; Clinton only signed off on it. And some of those Republicans are still in this House. He'll have good advice without having to turn to Bubba.

Posted by: jafco | January 26, 2011 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Keep your heads in the sand libs ... keep singing lalalalala with your fingers in your ears ... 26 out of 50 states have now filed lawsuits against this Titanic legislation ... this is an upopular law that will not survive reality, a concept liberals like to conveniently avoid ... said reality will once again rear it's ugly head in 2012 and no amount of whining,crying or rationalizing will be able to avoid it ... enjoy your past heady days ...

Posted by: cunn9305 | January 26, 2011 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer, my relatives in Israel have universal health care. Can we use their model? If all Israelis can have full medical coverage, couldn't we?

In fact, you could look it up on Wikipedia. It does a good job of explaining their coverage, and their economy is doing great. They're not running deficits.

Posted by: mfray | January 26, 2011 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Sorry buddy, but you get an F in History. The Republicans balanced the budget; Clinton only signed off on it. And some of those Republicans are still in this House. He'll have good advice without having to turn to Bubba.
You realize that Congress and the White House work together to create the budget, no? It's that whole veto power thing the President has that gets him a seat at the table for these kind of things.

I'd say the only one who gets an "F" in History and perhaps Civics may be you jafco.

Posted by: mustangs79 | January 26, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

To mfray:
It would be awesome to have Israel's universal health care model. It is a true, two tier system and it does work! But the facts are: Israel has about 7 million residents and the system was set up when Israel became an independent state. This is all Israelis know. It can't be implemented in this country with 330 million people used to the tangled mess we have now.

Posted by: welliworld | January 26, 2011 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Great post, JR. Congressional hearings like this will keep the Obamapologists on the defensive for the next two years. It is particularly damning when the witnesses are not partisans or beholden to either party. Democrats will rue the day they insisted on passing this white elephant. Obamacare is a political millstone that will sink Democrat candidates for years to come.

Posted by: TheStatistQuo | January 26, 2011 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I am still waiting to hear how Republicans will deal with the looming health crisis in America. Bury their head in the sand, apparently, just like they do with Global Warming, and deny any crisis exists.

Posted by: samsara15 | January 26, 2011 9:06 PM | Report abuse

"Jennifer, my relatives in Israel have universal health care. Can we use their model? If all Israelis can have full medical coverage, couldn't we?"

Israel is quite small. The best example and model for us is France. Features of French health care include fee for service, free choice of doctor (although there have been moves to gatekeepers recently), the patient pays the doctor FIRST, then gets reimbursed from a schedule of payment. The doctor may charge more than the schedule but the charge has to be disclosed to the patient. The patient can go to the best doctor in France but that doctor may charge what he wishes. The system has many similarities to Ryan's plan, in which the payment is fixed, not open ended as our insurance is.

Unfortunately, Obama and Pelosi went exactly the wrong way. They seem not to have any idea of health care economics.

Posted by: mtkennedy | January 26, 2011 9:15 PM | Report abuse

As per usual, those in this thread who favor restricting further government waste and intrusion into our lives are commenting on the substance of the post, and those in favor of the opposite are lobbing ad hominems. Thanks to all, for yet another reminder of which group has the facts on its side.

Posted by: solidstate | January 26, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

samsara15, global warming is a fraud by scientists who were more concerned with grants that ethics. At the Cancun meeting, a group of skeptics had an exhibit asking people to sign a petition outlawing oxygen dihydride , or some other synonym for water. Hundreds of these "experts" signed the petition. The "science" is being promoted by people who don't know the scientific name of water. You should have been there.

Posted by: mtkennedy | January 26, 2011 9:20 PM | Report abuse

"Congressman Paul Ryan is arguably the most overrated person, place, or thing in the United States today. He needs to visit with Bill Clinton if he wants to balance the budget. Clinton's done it."

danw1, I'm not sure how one considers Ryan overrated. My guess is that you simply don't like his politics. As for Clinton balancing the budget, I've seen this assertion before and the Left accepts it as gospel. As jafco mentioned above, it was the Republican Congress that prevented Clinton from spending which created the possibility of a balanced budget. Not to mention the "holiday from history" we had in the 90s. I'll ask this - if Clinton was elected president in 2008 with big majorities in both houses of Congress, do you think we would have had a balanced budget? I'd as soon predict the sun to rise in the west than think Clinton would have balanced the budget.

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | January 26, 2011 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Nice try! The Ryan roadmap is headed right over the cliff to electoral disaster.

Posted by: keb777 | January 26, 2011 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Samsara, the Climate Change Cult is just another vehicle to impose Re-, er, Progressive ideology upon us against our will. The revelations regarding the East Anglia CRU and the UN reports have exposed the science as junk. And did you notice that the Cult did not rate even ONE mention in the SOTU? Even your Progressive overlords, er, leaders know it's a losing issue.

And my question to you, is when is it the job of Congress to solve individual-specific problems like health care FOR you?

Ain't. Their. Job.

It's ours ... along with a LOT of other problems that the Progressive Best and Brightest attempted to solve FOR us and made a mess by doing so ... with our tacit approval, as we "outsourced" our authority and resources to them because they were "smarter".

History reveals the lie that was.

What this Congress needs to do, is clean up that mess ... then work instead to keep our socio-economic "commons" in good shape by working the one-size-fits-all problems within it ... while assuring that the right problem-solvers -- US -- keep the decision-making authority and resources to solve individual-specific problems in the hands of the individuals involved.

Y'all keep trying to use the wrong tools for the job ... because you think you're so smart. Heed the words of Dirty Harry ...

... a man's gotta know his limitations ...

... and quit trying to solve everyone's problems from the top down. It doesn't work.

Posted by: ritchie_the_riveter | January 26, 2011 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Wow. I'm sure this is the first time that the government has ever passed a law or initiated a program that was sub-optimal in achieving its goals. The horror! The horror! All imperfect programs should be immediately repealed and replaced!

Posted by: t_parker16 | January 26, 2011 9:48 PM | Report abuse

New Fed HHS document:

ObamaCare special waivers jump from 222 to over 700, exempting 2.2 million employees.

Repeal it, start over, and give everybody an exemption.

Posted by: TominColorado | January 26, 2011 9:55 PM | Report abuse

t_parker ... it certainly ISN'T the first time ... that is why millions of us are tired of the rhetorical flash, and value those who expose its emptiness and get down to actual business.

And if we are serious about protecting our liberty, the error correction you sarcastically ridicule is IMPERATIVE. One of the reasons we are in such dire straits right now, is because we ignored that imperative in years past.

Posted by: ritchie_the_riveter | January 26, 2011 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rubin, are you a proud graduate of the Michelle Bachmann school of ridiculousness? I bet you graduated magna cum laude.

Posted by: JilliB | January 26, 2011 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Interesting how that HHS document linked at 9:55 showing that special exemptions from ObamaCare more than tripled, got released the day after the SOTU speech.

Just a coincidence, I'm sure...

Posted by: TominColorado | January 26, 2011 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I just sent an email to my Colorado congressmen asking to hold hearings investigating how HHS evaluates who gets these exemptions from Obamacare:

Here is a handy website for finding your congressmen's email addresses if you are so inclined:

Posted by: TominColorado | January 26, 2011 10:51 PM | Report abuse

You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price search online for "Wise Health Insurance" If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and trust me you are not going to loose anything!

Posted by: buddypaul | January 27, 2011 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Wow. One person testifies and the whole world must believe that one person's opinion?

I've got no issue with this testimony being brought to light. I do have an issue with the overblown rhetoric of the author (devasting blow, back on their heels, cold water, as if THAT wasn't enough, big blow)

At one time, I'd hoped for some real insight from this new column. Instead, I'm prepared to testifying that its just a bunch of garbage.

I sure hope that my devastating blow puts the author back on her heels with a bucket of cold water. And if that isn't enough, I might come back and deliver another very big blow to the credibility of Jennifer and her cheerleaders

Posted by: zcezcest1 | January 27, 2011 2:52 AM | Report abuse

Isn't Obamacare going to be decided by one person, Anthony Kennedy? Just wondering.

Posted by: aardunza | January 27, 2011 3:00 AM | Report abuse

And BTW my vote went to Aunt Bea, not Howard Sprague, because she reminded me of my grandmother. The people have spoken!

Posted by: aardunza | January 27, 2011 3:16 AM | Report abuse

Non sequitur enough for you Per Gynt, or a bridge too far?

Posted by: aardunza | January 27, 2011 3:27 AM | Report abuse

author must be special friends with Kraut, Will, Gerson. and THiessen, and Hiat.

Posted by: jimbobkalina1 | January 27, 2011 6:04 AM | Report abuse

The wheels are falling off the Obamacare abomination. Funding will be incrementally be demolished and legal proceedings will inevitably result in many elements of this abysmal piece of legislation being ruled illegal.

Game, set, match - for the rule of law.

Posted by: NelsonMuntz | January 27, 2011 6:21 AM | Report abuse

This website printapons is too cool. I use promo codes alot and hate having to look all over the place for them.

Posted by: lidiawatts | January 27, 2011 6:45 AM | Report abuse

Misconception 1: ObamaCare will save money - not the case, as testified by Mr. Foster.

Misconception 2: ObamaCare will let everyone keep their current insurance - not the case, as testified by Mr. Foster.

Misconception 3: The GOP has no healthcare plan of its own - not the case, as proven by HR 3400, sponsored by Tom Price (R-GA).

Democrats, please end your support for these misconceptions.

Posted by: MKS1 | January 27, 2011 8:15 AM | Report abuse

The temporary balanced budget in the late 90's was due in part (small part) to the fact that both Clinton and Congress adhered to PAYGO. More important were:

1. The temporary boom caused an artificial increase in tax revenues.
2. The health care curve temporarily flattened, for reasons nobody can quite explain.
3. The government was still reaping the benefit of the post-Cold War military build-down.

That anomoly will not work as a model for budgeting today, although we would still benefit from PAYGO.

Posted by: Larry3435 | January 27, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Wanna buy a ship in a bottle?

Posted by: aardunza | January 27, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

A right wing Congressman calls in someone to testify who will support his prejudiced and ideologically-based opinion, asks him leading questions and you report it as a fact? Whatever happened to reporting?

Fear, Hatred, Distraction, Distortion and Division is all Republicans have to offer.

Posted by: thebobbob | January 28, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

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