The Congressional Budget Office preliminary estimate of the Senate Finance Committee’s work is a devastating revelation. The bill is a platform for an enormous jump in federal spending, and yet it still leaves 25 million Americans without health insurance. The gross cost of new federal outlays increased from $738 billion to $829 billion. Meanwhile, the Baucus bill will accelerate, contrary to the president’s rhetoric, the government’s “takeover” of the health care sector of the economy. Nearly half of the individuals who gain insurance will be through Medicaid, a poorly performing program that is insulated from any serious systemic improvement. Expanding Medicaid, a welfare program, is not health care reform.
In its letter to Senator Max Baucus, CBO also makes it crystal clear that its work is not over and actual legislative language is imperative to completing its work. The higher spending is offset with higher tax collections. The Senate Finance Committee mark also depends on budget gimmicks – not paying for fixing the Medicare physician fee schedule nor for reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
In short, the news from CBO is not good news for the American taxpayers.