The Washington Post reports:
Instead of saving the federal government from fiscal catastrophe, the health reform measures being drafted by congressional Democrats would worsen an already bleak budget outlook, increasing deficit projections and driving the nation more deeply into debt, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said this morning.
Under questioning by members of the Senate Budget Committee, CBO director Douglas Elmendorf said bills crafted by House leaders and the Senate health committee do not propose “the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a signficant amount.”
“On the contrary,” Elmendorf said, “the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs.”
From later in the article:
“I’m going to really put you on the spot,” Conrad told Elmendorf. “From what you have seen from the products of the committees that have reported, do you see a successful effort being mounted to bend the long-term cost curve?”
Elmendorf responded: “No, Mr. Chairman.”
Asked what provisions would be needed to slow the growth in federal health spending, Elmendorf urged lawmakers to end or limit the tax-free treatment of employer-provided health benefits, calling it a federal “subsidy” that encourages spending on ever more expensive health packages. Key senators, including Conrad, have been pressing to tax employer-provided benefits, but Senate leaders last week objected, saying the idea does not have enough support among Senate Democrats to win passage.
And Elmendorf was just testifying about the exploding costs of the Democrats health plan. The employer mandates, the surtax on small businesses, and the individual mandates are all economy killers too.