Commentary Magazine


RE: Can the Obama Administration Afford Any More Missteps?

Well, Pete, they had another today from Christina Romer, who seems to be, like Robert Gates, one of the few in this administration who really can’t lie. For months and months, Democrats have been pushing the notion that we’re going to save money by enacting health-care “reform.” This is balderdash, of course. Today Romer agreed:

We are going to be expanding coverage to some 30 million Americans. And, of course, that’s going to up the level of health-care spending. You can’t do that and not spend more.

But eventually, she says, there will be “a dramatic impact on where we are relative to where we might otherwise have been.” Sort of sounds like those millions of jobs “created or saved” by the stimulus plan that saw us go from 8 percent unemployment to double digits. She explains:

While the legislation initially would increase government spending on Medicare and Medicaid, Romer told reporters, the total cost of the two programs would begin to diminish by 2019, when the legislation would deliver an estimated $14 billion in savings. Lower payments to Medicare providers would translate into savings for Medicare beneficiaries, who have seen some premiums double over the past decade, rising at three times the rate of Social Security.

So by slashing payments to doctors and hospitals, we’ll save money. Maybe. In 10 years. Who could resist such a plan?