Revenue Neutral? Hardly!

A couple of stories have recently come out that really put the lie to President Obama’s claims that “his” healthcare bill is revenue neutral. These on top of the original plan-killing news that came out of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office in July. In July the CBO said that Obama’s plan was clocking in at over a trillion dollars and said there would be no savings despite the rosy picture that the administration tried to paint for it all.

Early in September, the CBO dealt Obamacre yet another body blow to its claims of fiscal savings. CNSNews reports that the current House health bill will hike Medicare drug coverage premiums twenty percent forcing seniors to pay more for the same coverage they currently have.

“Overall, CBO estimates that enacting the proposed changes would lead to an average increase in premiums for Part D beneficiaries, above those under current law, of about 5 percent by 2011,” CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf said to Camp in a letter. “That effect would rise over time and reach about 20 percent in 2019.”

So much for “helping” Seniors save costs!

Obama has talked endlessly about the supposed 46 million Americans that “can’t get insurance” and he’s often said he wants a plan that will cover them. He has also claimed that we can “keep our current plans if we like them” intimating that he doesn’t consider his new healthcare plan a plan for all Americans. Since this debate got really rolling after his inauguration, the president has said that he doesn’t want a universal plan to cover all Americans because he wants it to be affordable (despite that for years prior to 2008 he did, indeed, say he wants a universal plan).

This supposed limited scope meant only to cover the most needy Americans seems not to be true, however, if calculations of just how many Americans would be covered for federally subsidized health insurance in H.R. 3200, the House bill is reviewed.

Language in the bill states that Americans that have an annual income at 400% of the federal poverty level will be eligible for government healthcare plans. Far from being limited in scope, this percentage includes over 60% of Americans.

According to the HHS guidelines, poverty is defined as an annual income $10,830 for a single individual, $14,570 for a couple, $22,050 for a family of four, and $37,010 for a family of eight.

Using these numbers, 400 percent of poverty level income — the cutoff for “affordability credits” — would be $43,320 in income for a single person, $58,280 for a married couple, $88,200 for a family of four, and $148,040 for a family of eight.

Using the Census Bureau thresholds, 61.5 percent of Americans have incomes that are 400 percent of the poverty level or less. This figure is based on the Census Bureau’s 2008 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement, which used a sample 78,000 households nationwide.

The fact that this many Americans are covered will cause many millions to lose their healthcare plans from their employers as those plans are dumped. Since so many Americans will be covered by the government plan, employers will see no reason to incur the expense of health insurance.

This will see costs for the government plan soar as more and more Americans are forced onto that plan. This is hardly “revenue neutral.”

The more we find out about this plan, the more expensive it proves to be. Yet the president keeps claiming it will all be “revenue neutral.” What do we call this claim if not a complete untruth?

(Cross posted at HealthcareHorseRace.com.)

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