Congress is likely to follow precedent and bypass the new health care law’s draconian payment cuts to doctors and hospitals, causing the law’s cost to balloon by trillions of dollars.
It turns out President Obama was right when he said his health care law wouldn’t add one dime to the federal deficit.1 Figures from the Government Accountability Office suggest that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will in fact add 62 trillion dimes over the next 75 years.2 (To give that $6.2 trillion some perspective, our national debt is currently $16.7 trillion.) Sometimes called the congressional watchdog, the GAO is the official auditor for the U.S. Congress. GAO is the agency that designated Medicare and Medicaid as high-risk programs because they are particularly vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse, and improper payments. And it is likewise the agency that ultimately will be tasked with identifying all the bureaucratic snafus associated with Obamacare as it continues to roll out, affecting more and more Americans.
Federal Budget on an “Unsustainable” Path
In the meantime, GAO has issued a report that paints a bleak picture of Obamacare’s impact on our fiscal future. An important takeaway is shown in Figure 1.
No matter whether we use current law (labeled the “baseline extended” scenario) or current policy (labeled the “alternative” fiscal scenario), the January 2010 projections (calculated before Obamacare was written into law) show U.S. public debt3 is soon headed toward historically unprecedented4 and economically unsustainable levels.5 The baseline scenario essentially assumes we follow current law to the letter. Thus, for example, the baseline scenario for last fall assumed that Medicare would slash payment rates to physicians by 26.5 percent on January 1, 2013, since that was what the law at the time required.
Read More at The American . By Christopher J. Conover.
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