President Barack Obama and congressional leaders claim that the Senate health bill, which will likely face a vote in the House by the end of the week, will decrease the deficit and bend the cost curve related to health care spending. However, recent analysis by The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis (CDA) shows that this is far from true. Instead, the bill’s mandates and numerous new taxes will have tumultuous effects. Passing Obamacare will come at the expense of the American people as it would grow the federal debt, increase premiums, and stifle economic growth.
The Senate bill would have disastrous effects on the economy and federal spending. CDA shows that the bill:
- Increases the federal deficit and national debt. The Congressional Budget Office shows deficit neutrality for the Senate bill—however, this is based on static analysis which ignores the effects new taxes and an individual and employer mandate would have on economic growth. These provisions would decrease investment in the economy, resulting in lower wages and salaries. This means less taxable income, lowering federal revenues and growing the debt. Increased borrowing puts upward pressure on interest rates causing some private sector productive investment opportunities to be foregone. This also increases the interest owed on the national debt, such that the government would pay, on average, $20 billion more in interest between 2010 and 2020. By the end of the decade, CDA estimates the publicly held debt would be $755 billion dollars more than under current law.
- Increases insurance premiums. Mandates in the Senate bill would require health plans to offer more generous coverage, increasing the cost of insurance. Increased spending on premiums, accompanied by increased medical spending, would create upward pressure on prices. This would further increase government spending, since offering the current levels of care covered by Medicaid and the proposed subsidies would cost significantly more. Another choice would be to ration provider payments even more severely.
- Increases unemployment. The bill also places new taxes on “the rich”—or, in more realistic terms, small businesses and those who create jobs. CDA’s dynamic analysis of the bill shows that an average 690,000 jobs per year would be lost due to the effects described above.
Americans have recently voiced that Congress’ top legislative priority should be restoring jobs and the economy. Instead, congressional leaders have focused their agenda on passing the Senate health care bill, which would have the opposite effect of killing jobs growth, suppressing economic growth, and adding to the nation’s already unsustainable levels of federal spending.