07 Dec 2009 Quote of Note: Democrats’ Health Care Sleight of Hand
“As a former (recovering) professional magician, I’ve seen and perpetrated my share of sleight-of-hand. But I have never seen anything quite like the linguistic and budgetary legerdemain Democrats have performed to make President Obama’s health-care plan appear ‘affordable.’
Congressional Democrats have been forced into such chicanery because of the price goal the president set for his reform, which, he claimed in September, ‘will cost around $900 billion over 10 years’ — less than we have spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. This $900 billion target is seemingly arbitrary, but is psychologically important – the president must know that the trillion dollar mark would be a deal breaker for many citizens and lawmakers. (Retail goods are labeled ‘only’ $9.99 instead of $10 for the same reason.)
Congressional Democrats have bent over backwards, sometimes painfully, to accommodate the president’s target price. For example, the $848 billion price tag that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claims for his new health care overhaul package is a mirage, produced by ‘assuming unrealistic tax increases and Medicare cuts that members of Congress will not be willing to follow through on,’ as spoiler-sport Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) points out.
This sort of trickery has been going on all year long. On October 29, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi crowed that her new health-care reform bill ‘meets President Obama’s call to keep the costs under $900 billion over 10 years.’ — The claim was pure misdirection, a wild gesticulation to distract from the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that the gross total cost of the bill is $1.05 trillion over ten years. But don’t look there!
And even that astronomical $1.05 trillion figure is only arrived at because Pelosi’s bill backloads the spending in the 2010 to 2019 timeframe – in fact, the vast majority of the spending in that period would not kick in until after 2013! That’s three years of little or no spending to artificially bring down your cost. Ta dah!”
-Matt Patterson, Policy Analyst, The National Center for Public Policy Research, “Democrats’ Health Care Sleight of Hand,” FOXNews.com, November 29, 2009