Opinion: Oops! Turns out Obama’s cost-cutting health plan won’t save a dime; cheaper to do nothing


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It’s probably just coincidental that bad numbers about President Obama’s much-coveted healthcare legislation came out late last week when few people were paying attention.

This is the absolutely crucial healthcare reform plan that simply had to be drafted, discussed, debated, amended and passed before early August. It’s supposed to cover millions more Americans and reduce the nation’s soaring medical costs.


Turns out, not.

Here’s a little chapter review before semester finals:

Analysts in the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services Department reported Friday that the nation’s $2.5-trillion annual healthcare tab will not shrink at all under the Democrats’ legislative blueprint as being pushed by happy Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader in the Senate.

Instead, they said, the nation’s medical costs will actually grow faster under the new bill than....

...they would if that chatty crowd of Washington spenders did absolutely nothing nada zippo about it. And even if they did pass the existing version for all that money, 24 million Americans would still remain uncovered.

‘Although several provisions would help to reduce healthcare cost growth,’ the report said, ‘their impact would be more than offset through 2019 by the higher health expenditures resulting from the coverage expansions’ to millions more Americans.So there goes the cost-savings argument. And the cover-everyone plank.

Upon seeing that, some health bill proponents said, Well, spending increases of, what, maybe 7% or so weren’t really too bad, even though there were supposed to be savings.

But here’s the weekend’s calculus on that one:

Three months ago on Sept. 9 in his urgent address to a joint session of Congress, the president argued that even a seemingly minute savings in medical expenses became huge in the long run countrywide.

Here’s what he said then:

‘And if we are able to slow the growth of healthcare costs by just one-tenth of 1% each year — one-tenth of 1% — it will actually reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the long term.’


Sounds good.

Of course, that was back when we were all going to get more and better coverage for less money. So, if trimming costs by 0.1% saves $4 trillion from the exploding federal deficit, what do you suppose spending, say, .7% more will do to the federal deficit?

Speaking of the federal deficit, latest figures out before any healthcare legislation reveal that in the first two months of its first full fiscal year in office, the Obama administration spent $292 billion more than it took in.

That’s $11 billion worse than the deficit in the last two months of the previous demon administration with eight years of failed policies headed by you-know-who.

That works out to $4.78 billion of spending in the hole for each of the 61 days in that period. Looks like Washington might be learning the wrong lessons from its close association with American automakers.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Speaking of costs, there are none to click here for round-the-clock Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item every day. Or follow us @latimestot. We’re also over here on Facebook. And our new Facebook Fan page is here.Evan Vucci / Associated Press); Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Associated Press).