Kent Conrad: Repealing Obamacare Would Add $1.5 Trillion To The National Debt
And, quite frankly, I’m not even sure where he comes up with that number. I’m assuming it’s a figure Conrad is taking from the CBO scoring (which was thoroughly gamed by Democrats). According to Michael Cannon at Cato, the CBO did count $1.5 trillion in hidden taxes in the Obamacare bill, but it’s hard to know if that’s the figure Conrad is talking about or not.
Either way, the notion that Obamacare will cut the budget deficit as it is implemented is a complete fairy tale, and Conrad is basing his dire pronouncements of deficits inflated by repealing Obamacare on that fairy tale.
Conrad said he doesn’t think a repeal will pass the Senate, and there are a number of financial reasons it shouldn’t.
“If they do that, they will add a trillion and a half dollars to the debt,” Conrad said of the savings from the law. “Where are they going to get the trillion and a half dollars? Are they going to increase the debt by one and a half trillion? Are taxes to make up for that? Are they going to cut other places in the budget by 1.5 trillion dollars?”
Conrad said people on both sides of the aisle are guilty of making the health care fix sound easier than it is.
“This is where rhetoric runs into reality,” Conrad said. “The reality here is a lot tougher than anyone was talking about on the campaign trail. … Virtually everyone running for office was not squaring with the American people how serious this problem is.”
This is a common theme for Conrad. He sets himself up as some sort of fiscal guru, and proclaims that nobody right or left has their pulse on the nation’s fiscal situation like he does. It’s all so complicated, and only a super genius like Conrad can understand it, so the rest of us should just shut up already.
Except, it really isn’t that complicated. Health insurance costs have been spiraling upward because the cost of health care has been rising as well. And the price of health care is rising because there isn’t a competitive market for health care. There isn’t a competitive market for health care because most of us don’t pay for it directly. For most of us, our insurance pick up the tab. And we aren’t even really the primary customers for our insurance policies. Our employers are, for most of us.
When you disconnect the consumer from the price of what is being consumed you get market distortions. If we made Americans directly responsible for their own health care we’d introduce market forces. More competition, lower prices, better care.
Now, politically this sort of thing may be tricky for politicians like Conrad, but as a matter of policy it’s really quite simple. The proponents of big government health care just like to pretend otherwise, much like they pretend the Constitution isn’t really a rather straight-forward document and is instead fraught hidden meanings.
Regardless, as to the Obamacare reducing the deficit, the CBO scoring of Obamacare that Conrad is basing his pronouncements on is thoroughly gamed. From Cato:
To hear Democrats tell it, the CBO projects the legislation would cost a mere $940 billion over the next 10 years. The CBO said no such thing: that figure pertains only to provisions aimed at expanding health insurance. Other spending provisions bring the cost to $1.2 trillion.
Then there’s the additional $208 billion that Democrats plan to spend on physicians who participate in Medicare. Democrats moved that into a separate bill to reduce the apparent cost of the main health care bill. Including that spending in the estimate completely wipes out the Obama plan’s professed $138 billion of deficit reduction. After correcting for that gimmick (and accounting for how the two measures would interact), the CBO estimates really indicate that the Obama plan would increase federal deficits by $59 billion over the next 10 years.
Even worse, Democrats hid another $1.5 trillion by preventing the CBO from scoring the legislation’s hidden taxes. At present, when Congress takes money from workers and gives it to private insurers, the CBO counts that as a tax. The Obama plan’s “individual mandate” would force workers to give money directly to private insurers, which the president’s economic advisers admit is also a tax. If history is any guide, those hidden taxes would cost roughly $1.5 trillion – but you won’t find any such estimate in the CBO’s score.
If you’ve been keeping count, we’ve revealed the actual cost of the bill is nearly $3 trillion. But to believe this legislation would cost “only” $3 trillion, we would have to assume that after President Obama signs it into law, it would be rushed to the National Archives and entombed within an impenetrable vault where it would never again be touched by God or man.
Yet this legislation would set in motion political forces that would make additional spending inevitable.
Conrad, and others saying that repealing Obamacare would add to the national debt, are quite simply lying.Tags: Kent Conrad, North Dakota News