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Fool me once. . .

Friday, July 17, 2009
By Dan

Why you cannot trust Obama on healthcare costs.

In January and early February, indeed since November, Barack Obama converted his massive campaign effort into a push for the stimulus package.  He promised us that waste would not be tolerated, that every penny would be scrutinized.  He summoned and summarily destroyed strawmen to show that inaction was not an option.  We were told that this was the worst economic situation since the Great Depression.  If we do nothing, he said, unemployment might go past 9%.  If, however, we followed his advice, unemployment would topoff at 8%.

Now, less than six months later, the stimulus is already being called a failure.  Unemployment is already nearing 10% (even more than Obama said it would be without a stimulus plan).  Fraud, waste and mismanagement are rampant.  Sheriff Joe Biden is a joke.  The explanations we receive?  “Oh, well, everyone misunderestimated the economy.”  Really?  Obama said it was the worst economy ever!  How could you have underestimated how bad it was?  “Well, the stimulus was not meant to stimulate and recover.”  Ah, I see, “it depends on what the meaning of is is.”  Not only are we now stuck in a struggling economy, we and our children are saddled with nearly $1,000,000,000,000 in additional debt.  Obama saw a drowning man and threw him an anchor.

So now, we come to health care.  Obama is making eerily similar promises and eerily similar threats against the same strawmen and asking you to trust him.  “We will watch every penny, we will cut costs and eliminate waste.  The cost of doing nothing is too great.”  Despite centuries of experience to the contrary, Obama is saying, straight faced, that getting the U.S. government will increase efficiency.

Yesterday, Douglas Elmendor, the Democratic head of the Congressional Budget Office, was testifying about the cost of “Obama’s plan”  (I put that in quotes because, like the stimulus, he has outsourced the drafting of a healthcare plan to Congress). By some miracle, Mr. Elmendor told the unvarnished truth.  He was asked whether any cost savings would materialize, and he said, no.  In fact, he said, all of the plans being discussed would increase the cost of healthcare and government spending.  Needless to say, this is not the Douglas Elmendor Obama once knew.

So today, Obama held a press conference to say that (i) Elmendor is wrong and costs can be reduced and (ii) we are going to get this done, no matter who gets in the way.  Obama once again repeated the lie that hospitals had agreed to reduce costs by 1.5% per year for the next 10.  Obama once again promised that costs would be cut, waste would be eliminated and every penny would be watched.  He again warned that doing nothing is not an option.  You are expected to take his word for it.  Again.  This time, when he throws you the anchor, don’t catch it.

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