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The argument that opponents are making against this bill does not hold water.
But when he and other Democrats claim that the government takeover of the healthcare system will cost less than $900 billion and reduce the deficit, they fail to take into account the elaborate budget gimmicks that were strategically placed within the bill. Such assertions blatantly ignore the costs of:
The Senate bill is cleverly designed to gather revenues (higher taxes, fees, and other offsets) over the full 10 year window but delays paying out the major benefits, like subsidies, until the last 6 years. So, the 2010-2019 estimate is not a full cost estimate of all provisions fully implemented and will certainly add significantly to the true cost of the bill.
Although the total cost of reform is unknowable, it has been estimated that the cost of the bill is somewhere around $2.5 trillion over 10 years of full implementation (2014-2023).
With the defeat of S. 1776 by a bipartisan majority, the price of the $247 billion doc-fix will have to be added to the cost of Senator Reid's bill. The CBO examined what would happen if the cost of the doc-fix bill in the House was added to the cost of the House bill. It estimated that combining the two would "add $89 billion to budget deficits over the 2010-2019 period."
Now, even some of the president's own supporters are realizing that deceitful budget gimmicks are solely responsible for the bill's "deficit neutral" status.
According to Ezra Klein of the Washington Post:
The delay is a budget trick, an attempt to lower the 10-year cost of the bill at the expense of the very people we’re trying to help.
Kevin Drum of Mother Jones states:
I’m pretty sure the 2014 date is mostly due to budget finagling. This stuff can’t be done overnight, but I’ll bet most of it could be implemented within 12 months, and it could certainly be implemented within 24.
And Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo says:
My impression is that some of the delays are there because it makes the budgetary accounting work better in terms of deficit neutrality. And I know the Dems would likely lose critical support without being able to show that the overall bill actually lowers the deficit. But if that’s the main reason, I suspect the legislative authors may be too clever by half since they may be slitting the bill’s and perhaps their own throats in the process.
It is clear that President Obama and his supporters are hiding behind the false "deficit neutral" status of the Reid bill. Multiple budget gimmicks have been included within the legislation to manipulate the estimated cost of reform. Unfortunately, such trickery is only one of the many reasons to oppose Mr. Obama's plan for healthcare reform.