Obamacare threatens to sink the USS America

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By Rep. Rich Cebra

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has some explaining to do.

On March 14, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) revealed that the cost of the so-called Obamacare initiative has doubled. Two years ago, when the Affordable Care Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a razor thin margin – with no Republican votes – we were told that the 10-year cost of the plan would be $940 billion. Democrats turned cartwheels around the Capitol because the grand total came in under $1 trillion. President Obama said if the cost had been higher, he would not have signed the bill.

It is now clear that the Democrats deliberately used phony numbers to drag this monstrosity across the finish line. The non-partisan CBO was told to “score” the 10-year cost – from 2011 to 2020. But Obamacare does not start until 2014, so the CBO’s projection actually accounted for just six years’ cost.

Now we’re told that Obamacare will cost $1.76 trillion from 2013 to 2022, the first nine years. Most likely the total from 2014 to 2023 will exceed $2 trillion, considering that the 2022 cost is now pegged at $265 billion.

As one Republican congressman said in the wake of the recent revelation, “The CBO’s revised cost estimate indicates that this massive government intrusion into America’s health care system will be far more costly than originally claimed. The law’s true cost to American taxpayers is part of a series of promises President Obama and Democrats in Congress made that will be broken.”

Rep. Pingree, of course, was an enthusiastic supporter of Obamacare. She is, after all, a liberal’s liberal. But in light of this frightening new CBO projection, it is fair to ask her if she would have voted for Obamacare if she had known its true cost.

If she says yes, ask her how we’re going to pay for this. We already have a $16 trillion national debt that we can’t repay, not to mention budget deficits running consistently over $1 trillion per year. President Obama has added some $5 trillion in additional debt since taking office, and Obamacare will add mightily to our disintegrating financial condition.

Let’s remember also that the newly revised projections may be too low. The feds are famous for huge economic mistakes. Medicare, for instance, costs 500 percent more than originally estimated.

If Pingree says no, that she would have opposed it if she knew the real price tag, ask her if she’s willing to publicly denounce the law and demand a vote for repeal. Let’s also ask her what’s going to happen to Medicare. To fund Obamacare, the feds plan to cut about $500 billion from this critical health program for senior citizens. The money will be used instead to subsidize insurance premiums for uninsured people.

Will that $500 billion cut force health rationing for seniors? Will they be told that Medicare has run out of money? These are big questions, and Rep. Pingree’s constituents deserve to hear her answers.

You might also ask Rep. Pingree how the states are going to pay for the 17 million people who will be added to Medicaid under Obamacare. The states can’t even afford their current Medicaid enrollments. Witness Maine, where we’re now struggling with yet another enormous cost overrun in MaineCare, the state’s name for Medicaid.

This national Medicaid explosion will financially crush states that are already on the ropes. If Rep. Pingree tells you that the feds will cover the cost for those 17 million people (that’s the plan for the first two years) ask her where Washington will get the money. The feds are bankrupt, with a debt that exceeds the value of our entire economy. Does she want us to end up like Greece, with riots in the streets and an enraged population?

What we are seeing with Obamacare is political insanity. Start with President Obama himself. What kind of man looks at a fast-growing $16 trillion debt and proposes nothing to bring spending under control? Not only does he do nothing to reign in entitlements, which we can barely sustain, he actually throws the mother of all entitlements on top of the pile.

As for Congress, and Rep. Pingree, what sort of people flat-out lie to the country about a hideously complicated program that we didn’t want in the first place – a program that does nothing to control the cost of health care and will ultimately tax us into the poorhouse?

Our country is in peril. If the Supreme Court does not strike down the Obamacare law, and if  Congress can’t repeal it, the good ship USS America will take on water and begin to sink.

State Rep. Rich Cebra (R-Naples) is the House chair of the Transportation Committee

1 COMMENT

  1. That just proves the stupidity of the average voter. It’s not like there are any sources to look up as to how universal health has effected other countries who have implemented it. What is it that Einstein said was the definition of insanity?

  2. Frankly folks, these are scary times in our financial world. The worst is yet to come from Washington to Maine. And the man in the White House, doesn’t give a damn, nor does Rep. Pingree. But, what should we expect, when a legislator votes for a health bill, not having a clue what’s involved. But, does so, because Nancy Peolsi says you’ll have to vote for it to know what’s in it. Talk about craziness.  An d Rep.Pingree bought into it hook line and sinker. She should be so proud. Voters in Maine better wake up now.

  3. What another govt run program that will be over estimated costs, I am shocked. But Chellie Sussman doesn’t have to worry she is part of the ruling class, all set for life with her pension, healthcare all paid for by your grandchildren

  4. I am somewhat confused here. Didn’t the Republicans have access to the CBO report?  Don’t they have some competent bean counters in the mix? Was the CBO report so complex and arcane that the Republicans couldn’t see that Obama was actually scoring the program  on six years of costs and calling it ten years? Were the majority on the GOP too lazy to read the CBO report just as Congress never read the Obamacare document before they passed it?

    We are clearly in the grasp of the jelly covered claw of a devious, dishonest and dangerous administration while being represented by a group of GOP buffoons.

  5.  Watcher, did you realize that the Republican’s did NOT vote for this package. The debate was quite thorough, but as we know, dearest Nancy told those that wanted to know what was in the total package, they would have to vote for it to know. What a bunch of ignorant leaders in that batter. Top to bottom.

  6.  Mr Doughty, I certainly did know that no Republican voted for this measure but I also know that no Republican came forth to expose what is now being realized…that the numbers are deliberately fraudulent. When the President out-and-out lies to Americans and we don’t seem to care much, we are doomed as a free nation.

  7. Watcher, I can’t vouch for what anybody said while in debating this health bill mess. But, wouldn’t it be nice if we could have a health bill, that would truly benefit those in need, and not bankrupt the country. But, as you mentioned, the lies coming down from the White House, are pathetic, and hopefully will be held accountable come November. 

  8. This piece has one big problem: CBO in fact says that their new estimate shows lower costs than originally estimated, not higher costs.

    See links and discussion at http://pollways.bangordailynews.com/2012/03/24/national/lying-about-or-misunderstanding-cbo-obamacare-budget-estimates/

  9. Actually, this piece compares apples and oranges. When looking at the ten year period covered by the first CBO estimate and the one covered by the latest CBO estimate, costs of Obamacare are lower, not higher. 

    CBO report 43080 states:”The Estimated Net Cost of the Insurance Coverage Provisions Is Smaller Than Estimated in March 2011CBO and JCT now estimate that the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of just under $1.1 trillion over the 2012-2021 period-about $50 billion less than the agencies’ March 2011 estimate for that 10-year period.”Link: http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43080

  10.  Amy, 50 billion. Wow! That the interest being paid daily on the debt isn’t it? Obama sure as hell doesn’t seem to concerned as he continues to spend more towards another trillion in debt.

  11. What is so crazy about this is that we waste our time talking about specicfic numbers when there is no one on the planet who has read the bill. If nobody knows everthing that is in it than no one knows how much it will cost.
    Suffice to say that it is Obama’s baby,a goverment program injecting itself into the lives of heretofor free Americans. By huge numbers we do not want it .
    Kill it . Get rid of it. Save all our enegry we are using arguing points we may have heard in the media or from our family doctor or from the opposition-save that energy for the fight to kill the program.

  12. BOTTOM LINE: There are NO Government programs that anyone can point to and say: That program has been successful and not in a world of financial trouble.  NONE

  13. Amy, what are you talking about. You brought into the discussion the 50 Billion issue. Not I. By the way, its all RELEVANT!  Don’t try to wiggle out of it.

  14. The author doesn’t mention $50 million. He says the CBO “revealed that the cost of the so-called Obamacare initiative has doubled.”

    But the CBO didn’t say that. It said that for the same ten year period, costs would be lower.

    Your response: A vague statement about relevance, without acknowledging that the central claim of the entire piece is flat-out false.

  15. Amy, again I didn’t bring in the 50 billion, you did that my friend. Not my doing, sorry.

  16. Reality: The author’s claim about what the CBO said is the opposite of what it actually said.

    Your response: Fried mentioned the dollar amount by which the new estimate for Obamacare is lower than the earlier estimate.

  17. Although the author claims the CBO said the cost for Obamacare “doubled” from the earlier estimate, this is untrue.

    CBO report 43080 states: “The Estimated Net Cost of the Insurance Coverage Provisions Is Smaller Than Estimated in March 2011.” Link: http://www.cbo.gov/publication…

  18. It’s all reminding me of Trish Riley’s estimates of 60,000 people being on Dirigo by the end of Year 1 and later her  fantasy savings projections.

  19.  Amy Fried – here is a quote from the CBO website. Are they also wrong about their own numbers?  The 10 year cost is $1.8 trillion dollars offset a little  by, guess what, the Penalties!

    This report also presents estimates through fiscal year 2022, because
    the baseline projection period now extends through that additional year.
    The ACA’s provisions related to insurance coverage are now projected to
    have a net cost of $1,252 billion over the 2012-2022 period; that
    amount represents a gross cost to the federal government of $1,762
    billion, offset in part by $510 billion in receipts and other budgetary
    effects (primarily revenues from penalties and other sources).

  20. I’m not saying that the CBO is incorrect. I’m assuming they are correct.

    The article also says the author assumes the CBO is correct, but what the article says about the CBO is untrue. CBO did not double the cost for the same ten year period. It says that the cost for the same ten year period is lower, not, as the article claims, higher.

    This article gets it wrong by comparing two entirely different time periods. That’s an apples and oranges problem.

    You have to look at the same exact years, the CBO projects lower costs. 

    This is not a perfect metaphor for this, but imagine that a doctor is asked to estimate the weight of a baby for each year on her birthday up to ten years old.

    Then two years later the doctor is asked to estimate the weight of this two-year old for each year on her birthday up to twelve years old.

    Both estimates would ten year estimates.The first estimate would include the weights of a newborn and one year old but not an eleven year old and a twelve year old. The second estimate would include the weights of eleven year old and a twelve year old but not a newborn and a one year old.

    And if you totalled each annual weight number, the second estimate would be higher, even if the weight estimates were exactly the same for the same exact years, when the child is between two and ten years old.

    The article posits that because a later estimate is higher than an earlier estimate, it means that the CBO is now saying the cost for the SAME period of time is higher.

    It doesn’t mean that at all.

    You have to compare the same period of time. And when you see what the CBO said about the same period of time, you see that they now say that the cost for the same period of time is LESS than they estimated earlier.

  21.  Amy, you are correct that numbers for the 10 year period of 2010 to 2019 (the years that Obama told the CBO to use for the projections would be somewhat different from the numbers for a 2013 to 2022. But, there is a huge difference between the two decade numbers.

    Obama, a charlatan of monumental proportions, new that the Obamacare benefits – the costs – did not fully kick in until 2014. Including the years before the full costs kicked in to the 10 year costs fraudulently lowered the costs. Now that two low cost years have passed, we can see the true 10 year cost…double or much more than double his phoney estimate.

    What is being done here is not to try to compare two dissimilar sets of numbers but to show the correct costs using a proper time period that will include the full benefit costs.

  22. The idea that people didn’t understand the figures requires positing that people reading the CBO report didn’t know how to read CBO reports or weren’t following the news all that well.

    Those of us who know how to read CBO reports knew exactly what was being stated, and plenty of news reports from the period were completely accurate about what the CBO stated. It certainly was no secret that the initial 10 year report included a period when the ACA was ramping up so that costs — and payments to cover the costs — were different from what they would be when the program was fully implemented. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine how the first few years would not require a ramp-up period. That’s completely normal for new programs, as is the ten year CBO estimate.

    If someone missed the news that explained all this and were unable to read the reports on their own and understand them, they might be surprised. And now the CBO has now said that the costs are LOWER than originally estimated. The article on which we’re commenting is simply inaccurate.


  23. Chellie Pingree(ME-D) in an interview w/ Neil Cavuto 3/24/10. Pingree is asked if she Democrats read the part of the Health Care Reform Bill that state children w/ pre-existing conditions won’t be covered by the bill until 2014, contrary to the Presidents claim that it takes effect this year. Pingree calls it “highly technical language,” and “I actually just learned about that today.” So is she implying that she, the President and fellow House Democrats voted in favor a bill they didn’t fully read and understand?

  24.  I agree that we have a shamefully ignorant and lazy electorate in this country and we are paying that price now. But, that has always been so.

    The real problem with our society, in my opinion, is that we can no longer get truthful and accurate information. This Obamacare debate is a prime example. Will it cost $200 trillion dollars over 10 years or won’t it?  I understand that the answers are based on assumptions of the future, but we have been doing this type of calculation for hundreds of years. Either the Democrats are right or the Republicans are right or the answer is somewhere in between. All I want to know is the answer.

    To point the finger, you have politicians who lie to us to get elected to pass their pet laws, the media which lies to us to get their politicians elected so they will pass their pet laws, the judiciary which seems to be trending toward ignoring the Constitution.

    George Orwell would not be surprised at our current condition only that it took us longer than expected.

  25. The article that Ms Fried referred to is what the CBO says but, the biased author  uses the example of the doctor averaging the weights of new born over 10 years. The example is not exemplary of the situation. A better example of what Obama did is to ask a doctor to estimate the average weight of all newborns during a two year period. He tells them to choose Year-1 during which no babies were born. Year-2 there was one baby born and it weighed 6 lbs. He can then say the average weight of newborns over the proscribed period is 3 lbs.

    The other matter that people seem to overlook is that the total cost of the Obamacare is said by the CBO to be $1.8 trillion reduced by other income…mostly penalties for the poor saps who can’t afford the insurance. Well folks, that chunk of change Obama says will reduce costs is, in fact, money taken from citizens. It is just like saying the TV will cost you $1,000 but if your wife pays me $500, the cost is really on $500. Gimme a break!

  26. It’s amazing how far those supporting Obama, no matter what the issue will travel. They will come up with all the necessary figures to support their basis of support. Just this morning on Meet the Depressed. Obama’s chief of treasury, Tax Cheat Geighter (sp?) praised on and on, what a great job this president has done, and oh yes, don’t forget the mess we inherited. It’s become a joke with this bunch running the country.  Obama refuses to take the blame for anything wrong in  America. It’s always somebody else s fault. Can we hardly wait for his being fired by the voters. Not quick enough. Thanx too, Watcher for keeping on top of this. Hi Amy.

  27. Representative Cebra’s article is an exercise in very colorful suggestions used to make a very simple point: he doesn’t support a program of governmental involvement in what, he believes, should be a privately run system.

    The problem is that our country isn’t a sinking ship and reliance on private industry to provide answers to affordable healthcare insurance and healthcare delivery systems is a ship that sunk a long time ago.

    America has the least efficient healthcare system in the industrialized world. We pay more for healthcare than any nation on the planet while our ability to deliver basic health services to our citizens lists more heavily every year.

    The astonishing growth of the health insurance industry, providers and (lest we forget) pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies over the past 60 years in America has been accomplished to the detriment of American citizens not for their benefit.

    Private enterprise is an astonishing and powerful mechanism; however, there are areas where it’s effectiveness in terms of serving a society in delivering essential services fails.

    Healthcare is one of those areas.

    Government intrusion into the private sector should never be engaged carelessly, but when the private sector has failed us it is both necessary and proper.

     

  28. Government intrusion into the private sector should never be engaged carelessly ….. You don’t mean like, “We have to pass the bill to know what’s in it?”, do  you?

  29. Hi Amy, Don’t you wish Chellie knew about the bill as you do? See Chellie voting against Seniors, while voting to not have ObamaCare in my post above

  30. Hi Amy,
    Myquestion had to do with Chellie voting against Seniors and voting to not be part of ObamaCare
    Please see link:

  31. Hey Larry,
    Here’s our Chellie in the Rules Committee regarding a proposed amendmentObamaCare.
    Spoiler Alert: Chellie voted NO to purchasing insurance over state lines, NO to 100% deductibility of health insurance, NO to eliminating ANY cuts to medicare, NO to allowing any citizens purchasing the same Health Insurance that Congress has (good for her, not for the 99%), etc. Chellie must have good insurance if she doesn’t want us prols diluting her benefits.

  32. I beg to disagree. The CBO has to include the first year when costs are low and the program is just being rolled out. How else should they have estimated the initial overall costs? Just leave out the first year?

    And ALL estimates of programs include the money that goes out and comes in. The penalty therefore has to be included. By the way, since ACA expands Medicaid, people with very low incomes don’t buy insurance. And since ACA provides subsidies to others, those folks are buying insurance but receiving support to do so. Thus there aren’t people who can’t afford the insurance but are forced it buy it or to pay a penalty. 

  33. Does anybody believe for a minute, that the democrats didn’t know that these figures were fudged? Also, does anybody believe that Obama was being honest, when he said he would have vetoed this bill, had the cost of it been over a trillion. And the lies continue, where will it stop. It will stop at the White House in November. We can hope.

  34. In order to pass a spending bill it’s required that it’s costs and payment sources for the first 10 years from the date of passage be specified.

    The Democrats did that and the answer was 940 billion.   That number has not changed significantly.  It’s now a little bit higher due to the recssion draging on longer than CBO originally estimated.

    It’s about 160 billion per year in 2012 dollars.  There has been no doubling of costs or payment sources for per year estimates.

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