Monday, May 17, 2010

Obama Healthcare Claims Were a Sham

Obama Healthcare Claims Were a Sham
Thursday, 06 May 2010 11:35 AM

By: Ronald Kessler

A year ago, President Obama promised that his healthcare reform “could save the nation more than $2 trillion over the next 10 years and save hardworking families $2,500 in health care costs in the coming years.”

Since that time, Obama has claimed hundreds of times that the legislation would “bend the cost curve.”

All along, Republicans said Obama was making up figures. Now we know who was right.

An analysis by Obama’s own Department of Health and Human Services says that, rather than reducing costs, the healthcare legislation that was passed “will increase national healthcare spending by $311 billion from 2010-2019.”

While healthcare amounts to 17 percent of GDP now, it will cost 21 percent by 2019, the report from Obama’s own administration says. The increased costs will be as much as $500 billion higher if Congress — as expected — overturns planned cuts in Medicare spending.

Moreover, although 34 million people will gain coverage under the law, 23 million will remain uninsured, according to the analysis. People who choose to go without insurance and employers who do not provide required coverage will pay $120 billion in penalties from 2014 to 2019.

Richard S. Foster, the chief actuary of Medicare and Medicaid who prepared the report, says the reason his analysis did not come out before the bill was passed is that he “didn’t have access to the reconciliation legislation itself until it was publicly issued on March 18, which was three days before the House vote took place on March 21. Because of the complexity of the reconciliation changes, it wasn’t possible to estimate the package prior to the vote.”

In other words, the White House, which claims to endorse transparency, had no interest in telling the public the real costs of the bill until after it was passed. Otherwise, it would have made sure that Foster received the appropriate information in time to prepare an analysis.

Back in 2003, when President Bush made a 16-word statement in his State of the Union speech that British intelligence believed Saddam Hussein had been trying to buy uranium from Niger, the media unleashed its full fury on him. Each day brought new page one headlines insinuating that Bush had lied.

In fact, not only did the British intelligence service MI6 believe that Saddam had sought uranium from Niger but also investigations by both a British House of Commons and a Senate intelligence committee later concluded the MI6 report was well-founded.

Now it turns out Obama misled the country about a measure that affects one-fifth of the economy, yet there is no outrage except from Republicans. The news media have treated the story as a non-event.

The New York Times played the story on Foster’s report on page A8. The Washington Post and USA Today did not run a story. With the exception of Fox News, none of the networks touched it.

If Obama were a company that advertised such false claims, the Federal Trade Commission would take action. If Obama were a Republican, the news media would play his deception as a scandal.

But Obama is neither. He is a pitchman who has victimized the American people with his sham reform.

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail. Go here now.