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Obamacare's Ugly Math

The Senate's $2.5 trillion bill will create higher taxes and higher premiums with little return.

7:00 PM, Dec 3, 2009 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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Over that same span of time (2010-29), the CBO says that the bill's costs would be $3.9 trillion for insurance coverage expansions alone ($5.5 trillion for all costs combined). So, according to CBO projections, even under these fancifully rosy assumptions, the bill's costs for every newly insured person would be . . . an even $100,000. A $100,000 ObamaCare policy, anyone?

Since insurance coverage is ObamaCare's strongest suit (it's certainly not cost-containment, promoting liberty, or improving the quality of care), this begs the question: Do the Democrats' proposed House or Senate bills do anything well?

If the evidence presented so far weren't enough, the CBO says that in its real first decade (2014-23) the Democrats' Senate bill would cost $2.5 trillion and would siphon more than $800 billion out of already-barely-solvent Medicare -- just in time for the baby boomers' retirement. And, of course, it would inject the federal government's massive bureaucratic apparatus into the historically private -- and rightfully private -- relationship between patient and doctor.

And, unless it actually permanently cut doctors' pay under Medicare by 23 percent, it would increase deficits by $286 billion in relation to current law. It would do so in spite of the fact that, this September, President Obama spoke to a joint-session of Congress and to a live TV audience of American citizens watching from coast to coast and said the following: "And here's what you need to know. First, I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits -- either now or in the future [applause]. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period."

In its real first decade (2014-23), the Senate bill would also increase taxes on Americans by a staggering $1.3 trillion. This would include taxes on small businesses that would limit job-creation, and it would also include a tax on "Cadillac" health plans. A little over a year ago, then-candidate Obama said, "And I can make a firm pledge: Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase -- not your income taxes, not your payroll taxes, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes." He added, " My opponent can't make that pledge, and here's why: For the first time in American history, he wants to tax your health benefits."

Now, President Obama wants to tax health benefits -- and for those making far less than $250,000. The CBO says that the Senate bill would tax 19 percent of all employer-based health-care policies by 2016, based on current trajectories. According to the Census, in 2007 the group comprising 19 percent of U.S. households included those making less than $100,000 annually -- a far cry from $250,000. Apparently, $99,000 is the new $250,000.

At every turn, ObamaCare cuts against the stated goals of health-care reform and the "firm pledges" that got President Obama elected.

With nearly every comparison or fact working against ObamaCare, it's hardly surprising that the American public is against it too. Twelve national polls have been released on ObamaCare in the past three weeks (Rasmussen, USA Today/Gallup, Ipsos/McClatchy, Fox, Democracy Corps, Quinnipiac, CBS, CNN, PPP, ABC/Washington Post, Pew, and Public Opinion Strategies), and they've collectively shown it to be losing by 8.0 percent. This isn't the result of some random outlier. If you throw out the high and low polls, ObamaCare is losing by even more.

Perhaps worse still for ObamaCare supporters, the margin is even greater among those who feel strongly. Rasmussen shows that 40 percent strongly oppose ObamaCare compared to only 22 percent who strongly support it.

Furthermore, polls show that independents -- crucial in swing-district elections -- appear to be jumping ship the fastest. In June, a Fox News poll showed that (among those who had an opinion on the matter) 73 percent of independents approved of President Obama's job performance. After a 5-month period during which the president has devoted himself mostly to health care, the same poll now shows that only 40 percent of independents approve of his job performance. Amazingly, the President has lost a third of all independents in less than half a year. It's been 15 years since we've seen such a profound swing over such a limited period of time in American politics.