During the final arguments surrounding the Obamacare monstrosity, the public was repeatedly told that the health care reform bill would somehow manage to lower the federal budget deficit because of increased revenues and cost cutting measures. The Congressional Budget Office’s “scoring” of the bill became the Holy Grail of proponents wishing for a positive fiscal impact.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office from 2003 to 2005, however, reveals that the CBO scoring may not exactly be the final word on estimates of the bill’s true fiscal impact.
How can the budget office give a green light to a bill that commits the federal government to spending nearly $1 trillion more over the next 10 years?
The answer, unfortunately, is that the budget office is required to take written legislation at face value and not second-guess the plausibility of what it is handed. So fantasy in, fantasy out.
In reality, if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games and rework the calculus, a wholly different picture emerges: The health care reform legislation would raise, not lower, federal deficits, by $562 billion.
Holtz-Eakin points out a few of these gimmicks, which include front-loading revenues and back-loading spending, omitting about $114 in so-called “discretionary spending” that is really not discretionary, and “unrealistic annual Medicare savings ($463 billion) and the stolen annual revenues from Social Security and long-term care insurance ($123 billion).”
In other words, the American public was sold a bill of goods with this legislation, and the accounting gimmicks used to make its budgetary impact look more palatable would land private sector accountants in jail.