Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Forgot to carry the "1" - Powerline: "GAO: Obamacare is a multi-trillion dollar budget-buster."  Hey, what's another $6 trillion at this point?


Fuzzy math said...

Forgot to carry the "1"

Also forgot to carry the law's Independent Payment Advisory Board, the excise tax on high-cost plans, and reductions in Medicare payments to providers based on their performance. Senator Jeff Sessions asked the GAO to calculate the cost of the Affordable Care Act without those things. If all of those cost-saving measures are repealed or phased out, then - surprise, surprise! - the remainder of the law will cost more money.

Amazingly, from the exact same GAO report: If the cost-saving measures stay in place as is, the national deficit will decrease 1.5 percent as a share of the economy over the next 75 years, with 80% percent of the improvement being directly attributed to Obamacare. (That's the finding that ISN'T getting play in the rightwing blabosphere this week.)

Next up: will the Social Security trust fund get bigger, or smaller, if we lower the eligibility age to 45 and start printing the checks on bone china? The answer may surprise you!

Eric said...

Yeah, well "...there is considerable uncertainty about the magnitude of the impact that the different [cost saving] factors will have on future health care cost growth" is a nice way of saying "that stuff ain't gonna happen."

Obamacare will be greeted as liberators said...

A 75-year projection contains uncertainty, while a talking point admits none at all? You don't say!

Getting rid of the stuff that impedes the answer you want is a surefire way of getting the answer you want. Which is why it's B.S. Eliminate 0's, 2's, 4's, 6's and 8's, and I'll guarantee you an odd number.

Eric said...

So much uncertainty in 75-year projections, that's for sure.

How about 25-year projections?

Medicare (hospital insurance). In 1965, as Congress considered legislation to establish a national Medicare program, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated that the hospital insurance portion of the program, Part A, would cost about $9 billion annually by 1990.v Actual Part A spending in 1990 was $67 billion.

Oooh...missed it by that much. When Obama was pitching Obamacare, he said that it would reduce a family's premiums by $2500/year. Which would be true if by "reduce" he meant "increase."

That was only a 4-year guess.

Anonymous said...

It’s almost as if U.S. health care costs have rocketed up since 1965. With Medicare leading the pack, right?

Medicare spending per beneficiary (adjusted for inflation): more than 400% increase from 1969-2009.

Private health insurance premiums (adjusted for inflation): more than 700% increase from 1969-2009.

The real increase between the 1965 estimate and the true 1990 cost is 165%, not 740%. The average family income in 1965 was less than $7,000. “More” is worse than “less,” of course, but that Republican-drafted report you quoted doesn’t cite the difference in cost to the public had Medicare never been enacted. The law came into being as a response to something. If Medicare was wiped from existence and there was only private coverage for some of the Medicare beneficiaries in 1990, and no insurance for the rest, we’d have jumped for joy at only receiving a $67 billion doctor’s bill.

Anonymous said...

A family's 2013 premiums going up under the iron boot of Obamacare is a neat trick, since most of the law hasn't even been implemented. Between 80% and 90% of the increase in health coverage since 2010 is due to rising health care costs.

Several independent estimates have shown that the Affordable Care Act has caused between a 1% and 2% absolute increase. A $5,000 price increase due to Obamacare is plausible for anyone who had previously been paying $300,000 a year for his basic family plan. Makes a good talking point, though, once we ignore the fact that that 1-2% increase is due to increased benefits.

Also, the average annual rate of increase in health care premiums has gone down since 2010, not up.

Also, Obama did not promise an immediate $2,500 drop from one's current price, but a cheaper rate in the future as compared to what the estimated cost was expected to be, absent the new law.

But it is true that the bill required a lot of pages to print, and all that paper is a non-recoupable loss to the American taxpayer.

Eric said...

The point my comment - I'm sure you know - is that estimates of future government spending are almost always a small fraction of reality. I'm not even sure what's the relevance of citing Medicare premiums vs. private insurance. Medicare pays doctors and hospitals much less, which is why the news is full of stories about concierge doctors and GPs dropping Medicare patients.

I didn't know that Obama's campaign speeches to drop health care premiums by two-large came with an asterisk. In hindsight, I'm sure Johnny Sixpack understood that Obama meant a drop in the rate of growth, chained to a CPI index, and pro-rated to 1985 constant dollars plus unicorns = $2,500 "savings."

Anonymous said...

Invoking unicorns would be a punchier piece of mockery, if it didn't come on the heels of an equally mythical scare tactic.

"This is how much more Obamacare's really going to cost, if we pretend to change the numbers around until it costs that much. That's why you can't trust the other side's numbers."