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Thursday, November 04, 2010

How the Health Care Bill Will Save Us Money

After months of heated debate and partisan rhetoric, the time has finally come. Nobody is completely happy with the health care reform bill, and many people still have their doubts even if they voiced support for the plan.

Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) had been voicing strong opposition because the bill lacked a public option, in the end however, he changed his stance in order to fight for something, anything, which looks remotely like reform.

According to the CBO, a non-partisan body organized to provide cost estimates on pending legislation, the health reform package would cost $940 billion over a ten-year span.  It should be noted that this averages out to just $94 billion annually, and the program fits completely within the U.S. budget. 
According to the CBO projections, this bill will cover 32 million of this nation’s 47 million uninsured; bringing the national total to nearly 95 percent coverage.  It will reduce the deficit by roughly $138 billion over the first ten years, and by $1.2 trillion over twenty years.
Since the health care package is a fully “budgeted” item, it does not really cost the U.S. anything.  Unlike the wars and bailouts, which are largely non-budgeted, the sources of funding for this legislation have already been lined out.
Since the proposal is already budgeted, the costs are a non-issue.  Instead, we must focus on the savings.  By implementing this program, which is hopefully just the first in a series of comprehensive reforms, the U.S. will see average savings of $13 billion per year for the next ten years.  If we simply follow this program for twenty years, without more progressive updates, we will save nearly $120 billion each year on average.
Under the previous system private insurance would virtually bankrupt the economy within twenty years.  Under the revised system we can begin to contain those growing costs.
Republicans, and their conservative media cohorts, have already questioned the validity of the CBO estimates.  Stopping short of actually calling the CBO liars, the editorial board of Investor’s Business Daily, instead implicates that the Democrats intentionally misled the government’s best economists.  The column then proposes that, without any data to back up its claim, the real cost is 166 percent higher. 
Representative John Boehner (R-Ohio) stated on Fox News, that the CBO score was a ”fallacy” at the very least. 
The Democrats, according to him, are simply lying about the figures.  The Democrats are trying to steal from the public, and the rich, and defy the Constitution.
Basically, other than making baseless personal attacks, the Republicans have little real opposition to speak of.
The fact of the matter is, this country is horrendously in debt.  One reason for that debt is the fact that our government had no way of keeping medical costs down. 
Most countries have universal coverage, it works smoothly, people pay taxes, there is no fleecing of the rich, and there are no horrible evil underpinnings.
The bill's passage demonstrates that Washington is willing to do something other than collect endorsement checks from corporate interest groups.

(found at  

 What is the CBO? (from Wikipedia)

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is a federal agency within the legislative branch of the United States government. It is a government agency that provides economic data to Congress.[1] The CBO was created as an independent nonpartisan agency by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974.
With respect to estimating spending for Congress, the Congressional Budget Office serves a purpose parallel to that of the Joint Committee on Taxation for estimating revenue for Congress, the Department of the Treasury for estimating revenues for the Executive and estimates required for the Congressional budget process. This includes projections on the effect on national debt[2] and cost estimates for legislation.
Section 202(e) of the Act requires submission by CBO to the House and Senate Committees on the Budget periodic reports about fiscal policy and to provide baseline projections of the federal budget. This is currently done by preparation of an annual Economic and Budget Outlook plus a mid-year update. The agency also each year issues An Analysis of the President's Budgetary Proposals for the upcoming fiscal year per a standing request of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. These three series are designated essential titles distributed to Federal Depository Libraries and are available for purchase from the Government Printing Office. CBO also prepares reports and issues briefs and provides testimony often in response to requests of the various Congressional Committees. It also issues letters responding to queries made to it by members of Congress.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate jointly appoint the CBO Director, after considering recommendations from the two budget committees. The term of office is four years, with no limit on the number of terms a Director may serve. Either House of Congress, however, may remove the Director by resolution. At the expiration of a term of office, the person serving as Director may continue in the position until his or her successor is appointed.
In short the CBO is a budget evaluation board created within the constitution, in 1974, to make non-partisan projections about budget costs.  My problem is that Republicans dismissed the CBO as if they were Moe and Joe from the local pub and dismissed the reports as if they were cooked up over the weekend by Democrats when in fact the board is comprised of Republicans and Democrats.  The Republican projections used were in fact cooked up over a weekend, as I recall, and they feel that those are "Accurate." (no surprise there to me) It's pretty obvious to me that there's a fundamental distrust of President Obama because he's Black (i.e. "There's no way this can be true since it came from a Black guy.")  

There's NEVER been a congress that just outright scoffed at the projections of the CBO publicly.  Just as importantly there's never been a President that's been as attacked personally on such a large scale.  A picket poster displaying Obama as an African tribal warrior in a less than heroic stance at more than one Tea Party rally(that's not even the half of it.)

Tea Party organizers never call any of these individuals out and tell them that the Tea Party movement isn't a race propaganda movement.  The posters/pickets continue to show up...really it's not about race?