‘Time for a do-over’

Congress has told us that it needs to spend roughly $1 trillion in order to save money. The House bill is estimated to cost a little more than $1 trillion, the Senate bill a little less than that. These estimates use a number of accounting gimmicks and assumptions. Other estimates, by organizations such as the Heritage Foundation, suggest that more accurate estimates top $2 trillion. Then consider that, historically, actual costs run about five times the estimated costs (for example, Medicare). With history as our guide, the actual 10-year cost for health care reform is likely to be between $5 trillion and $10 trillion. Both bills slash roughly $500 billion from Medicare. According to the Medicare trustees, Medicare already has $37 trillion in unfunded obligations. Further, Medicare reimbursements to doctors and hospitals are sparse. If those reimbursements are cut further, it will not make financial sense for doctors and hospitals to care for Medicare patients. One of two things will happen: Either the government will rob our seniors of the care promised to them, or it will not slash Medicare as promised, and our nation will spiral further into debt.