Push­ing Amer­ica into Euroso­cial­ism

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - David Lim­baugh

As Pres­i­dent Obama and his party con­spire to de­stroy — not re­form — the great­est health care sys­tem in the world in their quest to re­make Amer­ica into a full-blown Euroso­cial­ist state, it is in­struc­tive to re­mem­ber the premise upon which Mr. Obama launched this dis­as­ter.

In July, Obama said that if we do not con­trol our health care costs, “we will not be able to con­trol our deficit.” He con­tin­ued: “I’ve also pledged that health in­sur­ance re­form will not add to our deficit over the next decade, and I mean it. [. . .] In ad­di­tion [. . .] the bill I sign must also slow the growth of health care costs in the long run.” Just to be sure there was no mis­un­der­stand­ing, Mr. Obama said, “The en­tire cost of that has to be paid for, and it has got to be deficit-neu­tral.”

Those who didn’t know this was hog­wash in the first place have no ex­cuse not to see it now. There’s noth­ing deficit-neu­tral about the plans cur­rently un­der con­sid­er­a­tion. There’s noth­ing fis­cally pru­dent about them. In­deed, they would greatly ex­ac­er­bate our ex­ist­ing fis­cal cri­sis — not to men­tion usher in the largest so­cial­is­tic trans­for­ma­tion we‘ve yet seen in this na­tion.

With the in­for­ma­tion that has now come to light about the costs of “re­form,” there is no other ra­tio­nal ex­pla­na­tion for Mr. Obama’s ob­ses­sion to en­act Oba­macare than his de­sire to in­crease gov­ern­ment con­trol over ev­ery as­pect of our lives.

As oth­ers have noted, Mr. Obama and com­pany have em­ployed mul­ti­ple gim­micks to con­ceal and mis­rep­re­sent the true costs of Oba­macare. Like other groups want­ing to de­stroy Amer­ica from the out­side, lib­er­als are pa­tient. By back­load­ing their spending, they hope to de­ceive Amer­i­cans into think­ing their plan is bud­get-neu­tral.

Thus, their bills dis­guise their true net costs by de­fer­ring most new spending for five years (while in­creas­ing taxes and cut­ting Medi­care al­most im­me­di­ately). This trick is so trans­par­ently de­ceit­ful that if at­tempted by a Repub­li­can ad­min­is­tra­tion, we’d have al­ready heard rum­blings for im­peach­ment.

Specif­i­cally, Democrats have said their pro­posal would cost $848 bil­lion over 10 years, but the true cost would be some mul­ti­ple of that. Us­ing Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice fig­ures, In­vestor’s Busi­ness Daily re­ports that only 1 per­cent of the spending would come in the first four years of the 10 years the Democrats are count­ing (2010-13). If you be­gin the 10-year cal­cu­la­tion in the year ap­pre­cia­ble spending would be­gin — 2014 — the cost would be $1.8 tril­lion. (Sen. Judd Gregg, it should be noted, es­ti­mates the costs for that 10-year pe­riod — 2014-23 — would be much greater, at $2.5 tril­lion.) Over the next five years (202428), the costs would es­ca­late even faster, to­tal­ing $1.7 tril­lion.

In ad­di­tion, the Cato In­sti­tute’s Michael Can­non re­veals an­other gim­mick Democrats are us­ing to un­der­state the ac­tual costs for the first true 10-year pe­riod. Mr. Obama, de­spite his cam­paign prom­ises to the con­trary, would force the vol­un­tar­ily unin­sured to pur­chase health in­sur­ance. Those man­dated costs should be counted as a tax just as surely as if they were first paid to the gov­ern­ment for dis­tri­bu­tion to the in­sur­ance com­pa­nies. In fact, the CBO did score sim­i­lar man­dates as taxes un­der Hil­lary Clin­ton’s re­form plan in the ‘90s. But by treat­ing th­ese man­dated costs as “off­bud­get,” Mr. Obama hides 60 per­cent of the bill’s to­tal costs, ac­cord­ing to Can­non. When all th­ese gim­micks are cor­rectly ac­counted for, says Can­non, “the to­tal cost of Oba­maCare reaches [. . .] $6.25 tril­lion.”

If all this weren’t bad enough, be ad­vised that Democrats have em­ployed chi­canery on the tax side, as well as the spending side. Dick Mor­ris and Eileen McGann re­cently dis­closed the Demo­cratic trick — con­tained in both the House and Se­nate bills — to re­quire states to cover a greater per­cent­age of Med­i­caid costs, which would hit tax­pay­ers just as hard but would come down tech­ni­cally as tax in­creases at the state level. The Her­itage Foun­da­tion’s blog, “The Foundry,” also de­tails a slew of new taxes de­creed by Sen. Harry Reid’s health care leg­is­la­tion, to­tal­ing some $370 bil­lion over the next 10 years.

If you still don’t be­lieve Oba­macare is about in­creased fed­eral con­trol rather than about cut­ting costs, you should re­view pro­vi­sions in the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion that would re­sult in fed­eral mi­cro­man­age­ment of all pri­vate health in­sur­ance. As “The Foundry” re­ports, “Like the oth­ers, the Reid bill would sub­ject all pri­vate health in­sur­ance [. . .] to detailed Fed­eral reg­u­la­tion. Th­ese so-called ‘in­sur­ance re­form’ pro­vi­sions amount to a de facto na­tion­al­iza­tion of health in­sur­ance and they would pro­duce that ef­fect re­gard­less of whether or not Congress cre­ates an­other, new gov­ern­ment-run health in­sur­ance plan.”

But as de­press­ing as Mr. Obama’s re­lent­less so­cial­ist as­sault on Amer­ica is, I am con­tin­u­ally lifted up by the fight­ing spirit of those who will never aban­don the fight to pre­serve lib­erty.

David Lim­baugh is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

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