In re Obamacare: The facts are bad, and public opinion is bad. Otherwise it's doing fine! Chuck Blahous of the Hudson Institute has an important article in today's Politico. He points out that President Obama makes it seem as if his health insurance reforms won't add to the deficit over the next ten years. But the current House bill exceeds this standard, according to CBO--not merely by the oft-reported figure of $239 billion, but by $820 billion, and the fiscal damage would compound beyond the ten-year window. The perception that the bill is "only" $239 billion short of the goal line is due to its having been packaged with unrelated tax increases totaling $581 billion over ten years. Whatever the merits (or lack thereof) of these other income tax increases, they have nothing to do with health care reform or with "bending the cost curve"--and they don't satisfy the president's pledge that his health care reforms themselves would be revenue neutral. And Gallup has an important new poll. It shows more Americans than not believe that, under the Democrats' legislation, their own health care costs will go up, their own health care will get worse, and their own access to health care will be reduced. Gallup's bottom line: "These results do not coalesce into a terribly optimistic picture of Americans' views of the perceived impact of healthcare reform." My bottom line: Kill it and start over. Kill Obamacare--"comprehensive," big-government-centered, central-planning-type health care reform. Start over with targeted, discrete reforms that address problems of access and the insurance market, and that address problems with the already-government-run parts of the system.
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