Two years ago I posted on the fiscal sleight-of-hand that was involved in passing the Patient Protection and Affordable health Care Act. I wrote this:
Whatever its merits as a reform of the healthcare system, in financial terms ObamaCare is an act of shameless fraud. The act is said to be $940 bill (meaning over ten years) and to lower deficits by $138 billion. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, lays out the largest and most obvious bits of deceit in those numbers in the New York Times.
The Democrats went to extraordinary lengths to produce a bill that would be scored by the CBO at under a trillion smackers over ten years. Here is what the President promised Congress and the American People in 2009:
Now, add it all up, and the plan I'm proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years -- less than we have spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and less than the tax cuts for the wealthiest few Americans that Congress passed at the beginning of the previous administration. (Applause.) Now, most of these costs will be paid for with money already being spent -- but spent badly -- in the existing health care system. The plan will not add to our deficit. The middle class will realize greater security, not higher taxes. And if we are able to slow the growth of health care costs by just one-tenth of 1 percent each year -- one-tenth of 1 percent -- it will actually reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the long term.
I pointed out the magic involved in the President's math. I thought it obvious that the bill would cost much more than that.
Astoundingly enough, I was right. Philip Klein, at the Washington Examiner, reports on this year's CBO scoring.
President Obama's national health care law will cost $1.76 trillion over a decade, according to a new projection released today by the Congressional Budget Office, rather than the $940 billion forecast when it was signed into law.
If the CBO is right, the ten year cost of the PPACA will be almost twice the advertised price. Next year's estimate will very likely put the cost closer to two and a half trillion. The fiscal projections made at the time of its passage were, as I noted, acts of shameless fraud.
On the other hand, how much does this matter? The CBO just upped the deficit estimate for last fiscal year from $1.079 trillion to $1.171 trillion. How much the PPACA adds to the deficit remains to be determined. Let me suggest that it will exceed estimates. Meanwhile, it will be absorbing two trillion over ten years, wealth that cannot be used to fund anything else or reduce deficit spending. This is the fiscal record of our President.