The Obama Health Reform Bill’s Dishonesty on Cost

Rep. Paul Ryan has it right.

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By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street blog 

Last week, I linked to the video of Congressman Paul Ryan at the healthcare summit, where he took apart the president's proposed healthcare reform and, in plain English, demonstrated the massive cost of it to taxpayers. Today's Wall Street Journal editorial page runs a shorter, abridged version of it that is even better, and here's the link. He really did steal the show last week, and I hope that what he had to say is catching on inside Washington. I think people outside the beltway are way ahead of many elected officials on this. 

Then, in the Journal's unsigned editorial, is this gem: 

No one in the political class has even tried to refute Mr. Ryan's arguments, though he made them directly to the president and his allies, no doubt because they are irrefutable. If Democrats are willing to ignore overwhelming public opposition to ObamaCare and pass it anyway, then what's a trifling dispute over a couple of trillion dollars? 

At his press conference yesterday, Mr. Obama claimed that "my proposal would bring down the cost of healthcare for millions—families, businesses and the federal government." He said it is "fully paid for" and "brings down our deficit by up to $1 trillion over the next two decades." Never before has a vast new entitlement been sold on the basis of fiscal responsibility, and one reason ObamaCare is so unpopular is that Americans understand the contradiction between untold new government subsidies and claims of spending restraint. They know a Big Con when they hear one. 

Any bill that counts 10 years of taxes but only six years of spending as a way to bring down the deficit is dishonest. Hopefully enough congressional Democrats will vote against this and start the process over again, in a more fiscally responsible way. As Ryan said to the president, "[W]e are all representatives of the American people. We all do town hall meetings. We all talk to our constituents. And I've got to tell you, the American people are engaged. And if you think they want a government takeover of healthcare, I would respectfully submit you're not listening to them." 

It's clear that voters are way out ahead of the politicians when it comes to fiscal policy. As I wrote in my column this week, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles can't get to Washington fast enough.