President Obama’s average annual deficit spending (including his proposed deficit spending for 2012) has been 9.7 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) — more than double the tally of any other president since World War II. In the wake of Obama’s spending spree, it’s therefore a bit disconcerting that the CBO writes in a newly issued report that “the continued aging of the population and growth in health care costs will almost certainly push up federal spending significantly relative to GDP.”
The CBO projects that “spending for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other health care programs” — chiefly Obamacare — “will grow from 9.9 percent of GDP in 2010 to 12.0 percent by 2021, driven largely by rapid growth in health care costs.” Remember all of those claims that Obamacare would bend the cost-curve down (claims that President Obama is still making)?
None of this should be surprising. Often forgotten amid President Obama’s disingenuous attempts to make Obamacare sound like it’s merely “health insurance reform” is that Obamacare would spawn a massive expansion of Medicaid at a time when the CBO says entitlements are already driving deficit spending and eating up 55 percent of the federal budget. In fact, the CBO projects that more than half of the newly insured under Obamacare would be people simply added to the Medicaid rolls: 18 million people by 2016.
There are far more effective ways to reduce the number of uninsured than to dump them into Medicaid: by lowering health costs (like the CBO says the 2009 House Republican health bill would do), ending the tax code’s discrimination against the uninsured, and funding state-run community pools. That 3-step approach would provide a compelling replacement for Obamacare.
In that vein, there is some good news from the CBO. It projects that enacting H.R. 2, the repeal of Obamacare, “would reduce the ‘federal budgetary commitment to health care’ by $464 billion over the 2012–2021 period.” No wonder Americans want repeal.