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President Obamas Double Talk: He Says Health Plan Wont Add to Deficit Part 1

Posted Jul 22 2009 10:35pm

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

President Obama still enjoys a high approval rating. During the election he represented hope for change to the American people. We need hope because many of our systems are abused and broken. The divide between the rich and the poor is increasing and is at the most dangerous point in our history.

Our systems are abused and broken because Congress has been influenced by vested interests. Congress has been gridlocked on energy, environment, healthcare, education and many other vital issues. The systems need to be fixed to stimulate vigor in our economy and the spirit of innovative.

President Obama represented this hope. He has a fresh face and the right words. When we look beyond the words and analyze his style we find we are confronted with the same old double talk. He has the right words but the wrong solutions. He is telling us he will fix the broken and abused systems. However, he is demonstrating that the Democrats want to control the systems.

The result of the proposed legislation will be to control our personal decision making and our lives. I believe Americans will react negatively to this when they discover what has been done to them.

In order to accomplish this control over the healthcare system Congress is going to have to increase spending. The result of increased spending higher taxes.

President Obama wants to add a surtax on incomes over $250,000 plus and addition 4% income tax. The surtax will be on incomes from any source. In addition there are indirect tax increases on all citizens.

Medicare and Medicaid are entitlement programs. This is a fact. Medicare and Medicaid are in serious financial difficulty. Medicare Part B is funded by general revenues. The Medicare Board of Trustee’s responsibility is to warn Congress if more than 45% of Medicare expenditures are projected to come from general revenues. If they issue a warning in two consecutive years, Congress and the President must act to reform Medicare. The warning has been issued in the last 4 consecutive years. Congress has not acted.

The best way to quiet an agency is to eliminate it. This is exactly what the House bill does on page 836 of the 1081 page.

Rather than deal with Medicare's situation directly, the President and his allies promise to "bend the curve" to achieve savings across the health care spectrum -- including Medicare.  

If this is true, why then would page 836 (Section 1901) of the House bill repeal the "Medicare trigger" that is intended to force legislative action when Medicare's finances worsen?

  • The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 had mandated that if more than 45 percent of Medicare expenditures were projected to come from general revenues (as opposed to dedicated revenues, such as payroll taxes and beneficiary premiums) within a seven-year period, the trustees would issue a warning.
  • Two consecutive years of this warning would require the President to offer reform legislation and Congress to give that legislation expedited consideration.

This warning has been triggered four consecutive years -- the last three of which would have required legislative action.  Yet the Democratic Congress has regularly passed rules suspending their responsibility to address Medicare's unsustainability.  Now, the House health care bill would repeal the trigger altogether.”

President Obama has stated on numerous occasions that his health care reform bill will save money. It will not create a larger deficit. It is easy to save money when you eliminate the findings of the agency that reports the overspending.

“President Obama has repeatedly claimed that his health care reforms represents entitlement reform. He has stated that he will not sign a healthcare reform bill that is not budget neutral.”

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office has scored the healthcare reform measures increasing the budget deficit by 1.5 trillion dollars in the next ten years. This finding is not budget neutral.

Even if President Obama gets everything in the house bill passed he will not solve the problem of the healthcare system.

The major problems in healthcare are being ignored. Malpractice reform, the cost for the healthcare insurance industry’s administrative services, and patients’ responsibility for their own health and their own healthcare dollars are major issues that must be addressed and solved innovatively in order to repair the healthcare system.

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

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