The CBO has finally scored the healthcare bill (which Republicans are referring to as “Obamacare”). Both sides are making claims. The Democrats claim it will reduce deficits and lower premium costs. The Republicans claim the opposite. Both refer to the Congressional Budget Office Report for their claims. How can they both be right? Quite simply, Republicans are lying by omission.
The CBO and Projected cost of this bill (vs the cost of not passing the bill).
The CBO estimates that:
Enacting both pieces of legislation—H.R. 3590 and the reconciliation proposal— would produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $138 billion over the 2010–2019 period
Leaving the system we have in place would be the true costly solution. What Republicans are doing is selling the idea that the alternative to the $940 billion health care plan (which creates revenue and offsets other costs and as a result, helps reduce federal deficits) is to pay nothing, as though what we have now will be deficit neutral. They are being misleading. Not passing the bill is what we really can’t afford.
In regards to whether or not premiums will be lowered. In an apples to apples comparison, most premiums would drop in cost with this plan. What the CBO estimates is that many individuals and families will upgrade to better plans which are now affordable. These upgrades will cost more than their existing plans, and hence, their “premiums will go up.”
Admittedly, it seems counterintuitive that this bill would reduce cost. The problem is that it’s too easy to overlook the costs we are footing now, and what those costs will amount to moving forward. Republicans like Rep. Michelle Bachmann and Senator Ron Paul are fond of citing the fact that “no American is denied health care.” This is true. An uninsured person can go into the ER and receive emergency treatment. When this person can’t pay, these costs are passed onto insurance companies, who then pass them onto us on our premiums. This is more expensive than simply providing basic care. We pay more now, with our current fragmented system.
Here is an interesting exchange that recently took place on Larry King Live: