I'm reading about the new CBO report on the Senate health bill and I have to admit that I'm confused. Democrats (and most left-leaning news sources) are praising the report as a boon to their cause, but it sure doesn't look that way to me.
According to the New York Times, "Before taking account of federal subsidies to help people buy insurance on their own, the budget office said the bill would tend to drive up premiums." Subsidies would drop the premiums by 56% to 59%, for those who receive subsidies but, for those who don't receive subsidies and have to buy insurance on the individual market (the self-employed and those who cannot buy insurance through an employer), there would be an average increase in premium costs of 10% to 13%. Those who buy insurance through their employer should expect relatively no difference in premium costs, according to the CBO. Wait a minute! Aren't those who can't get insurance through their employer exactly who this reform is supposed to be helping? And these are the people who can expect a 10% to 13% increase in premium costs. What a way to be helpful!
It gets worse, though. The budget office says, "the proposal would tend to increase premiums for people who are young and relatively healthy", in other words, the very people who wouldn't even ordinarily be buying insurance if they weren't being forced to do so. So not only are we forcing people by law to buy something they don't want, we're also forcing them to pay more for it than it should cost. While we're at it, we are penalizing the young and healthy, the very people who, by all natural standards, should be able to expect lower health insurance costs, the people who should be rewarded for not being high risk.
Indiana Senator Evan Bayh claims, "This study indicates that, for most Americans, the bill will have a modestly positive impact on their premium costs." Most Americans? Are you honestly going to try to tell us, with a straight face, that "most Americans" will be receiving federal subsidies? There is not a subsidy program in this country, of any type, that even a quarter of Americans qualify to receive. There is less than zero chance that this subsidy program will apply to "most Americans" and that the cost of that subsidy will be kept down to $450 Billion over 6-8 years (the CBO places the cost of the subsidies - not counting any other costs - at $450 Billion over the next 10 years but the subsidies don't even go into effect until 2014 or 2016, depending on which version of the law you read, so they really don't get to count the first 2-4 years).
This latest report makes it even more clear that we are being lied to. This bill will not result in universal coverage (despite being the claimed goal, it has been admitted from the beginning that this would not happen), it will raise health care costs for many Americans, and - if the accuracy of past CBO estimates on major federal programs is any indication - it will raise the deficit. Congressional and Senate Democrats are lying, plain and simple.
I don't deny that some form of health care reform is necessary, but this boondoggle isn't it. Please spread the word and do not be misled by the positive spin being applied by the Democrats and the media. This report states, in its own words, that young and healthy people will pay more for health insurance. This report states, in its own words, that those who do not receive federal subsidies will pay more for health insurance. This report states, in its own words, that this reform will not help the people this reform is meant to help. I don't care which side of the debate you're on. Read the report, not the spin, and realize that you're being sold a bill of goods. You're being lied to and it's about time you got angry!