Prior to the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as ObamaCare, the Congressional Budget Office issued an analysis of the bill stating that it would result in a reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion between 2010 and 2019. This projected deficit reduction was never very convincing. It relied on politically untenable cuts in Medicare and Medicaid physician reimbursement — cuts that have already been forestalled for another year by Congress and the President. It counted as savings minor reductions in enormous future outlays. It was skewed because the tax increases in the bill began almost immediately while much of the spending — including, for example, a long-term at-home healthcare benefit that the CBO projected would “add to future federal budget deficits in a large and growing fashion” — will not commence for several years. And it did not include $115 billion in probable additional spending because of the speed with which the bill was rammed through Congress. (Most of these matters were raised by Richard Foster, chief Medicare actuary, in a pair of reports, one during the congressional debate on the bill and one last August.)
On Dec. 7 MSNBC.com reported that the government has conceded there’s too much fluoride in the water, and plans to lower recommended levels — the first change in nearly 50 years.
When Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin first used the term “death panels” to reference a provision of Obama’s signature healthcare law, she was mercilessly mocked. She even appeared in MAD Magazine’s Mad 20, which features the top 20 “dumbest” people of 2009, for her mention of what MAD called “imaginary death panels.”
Perhaps to the pleasure of Tea Party activists everywhere, Michigan’s Republican Representative Fred Upton has hinted that House Republicans may have the necessary votes to repeal President Obama’s healthcare law. Additionally, Upton indicates that the House Republicans may have enough votes to override a potential presidential veto of the repeal measure.
Benjamin Franklin is supposed to have said, quite presciently, “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” Americans found out in a big way during the 20th century that they could rob their neighbors via the voting booth. And senior citizens, among the most regular and outspoken voters, made sure they got the lion’s share of the loot with two huge entitlement programs: Medicare and Social Security.