Democrats Still Have a Few Tricks in the Bag on Health Care

The normally reliable Congressional Budget Office released a report on the Democrats’ proposed takeover of the health care system this week. The report absurdly claimed that a Senate panel’s $829 billion package would not add to the federal deficit. As we reflect that George W. Bush’s Medicare prescription drug program alone created $7 trillion in unfunded liabilities, it appears that the CBO is using a lot of outcome-based math for its calculations.

The CBO’s report, however, is not exactly hard and fast. As Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) points out, “This is an estimate of a concept, not a formal cost analysis of an actual bill.” No matter. The Leftmedia are gleefully reporting the “no new debt” part of the report without that unfortunate detail. It’s all part of trying to get the so-called fiscally conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats to heel and vote for the bill.

There are other details worth mentioning. For example, the plan would still leave uninsured 16 million of the supposed 47 million currently uninsured. And Democrats claimed no one would be left behind.

According to The Washington Post, “[T]he package would raise $200 billion more by levying a 40 percent excise tax on high-cost insurance policies — the ‘Cadillac’ plans that cost more than $8,000 for individuals or $21,000 for a family.” The House plans to slap a “surtax” on income above $500,000 rather than impose the “Cadillac” tax.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says she’s open to a value-added tax, or VAT, to help finance the plan. “Somewhere along the way, a value-added tax plays into this,” she said. “Of course, we want to take down the health care cost, that’s one part of it. But in the scheme of things, I think it’s fair to look at a value-added tax as well.”

The VAT is a tax on manufacturers and distributors at every stage based on the “value” added to a product by each additional step, and it’s largely hidden from consumers. As a result, it’s attractive to politicians — even ones who promised not to raise taxes on the middle class. Almost every European country with socialized medicine also has a VAT, and if the health care takeover is accomplished, then the same should be anticipated for the United States.

With all of these shenanigans, is it any surprise that Democrats defeated an amendment to post the bill online for the American people to read before the vote? Indeed, rather than adhering to Barack Obama’s promise of transparency, the Heritage Foundation’s blog, The Foundry, details “the four part scenario that would railroad the bill through the Senate using a very unusual closed door procedure to craft the bill with no input from the American people.” This includes some legislative tricks such as attaching it to an unrelated tax bill or using reconciliation, meaning only 51 votes, not the filibuster ending 60, are required in the Senate.

But don’t worry: Democrats know what’s best for you.

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