Tuesday, March 29, 2011

But hey, it's only money!

Remember how the bill we had to pass to learn what's in it was going to save us boatloads of dollars?

Turns out, not so much:

"In particular, the provisions related to expanding health insurance coverage were projected to increase the deficit between 2012 and 2021 by $1.04 trillion ... they are now projected to increase the deficit by $1.13 trillion over that period."

That's an 8% increase in one fell swoop. And that's only the beginning:

"The estimated cost of the coverage provisions ... is a good deal larger over the 2012-2021 period than over the 2010-2019 period."

Why is that, do you suppose?

Well, it's really by design (such as it is): by "frontloading" the costs and then tacking on the "benefits" down the road, the actual impact on the deficit is delayed, but not gone.

Never let it be said, though, that the CBO lacks a sense of humor:

"As we have noted repeatedly, our projections of the budgetary impact of last year’s major health legislation are quite uncertain because assessing the effects of making broad changes in the nation’s health care and health insurance systems requires assumptions about a broad array of technical, behavioral, and economic factors."

More succinctly: "we have met the enemy, and he is us."

[Hat Tip: Bob Vineyard, CLU]

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