Skip to comments.Kent Conrad (D-ND) and the "Annie Hall" Theory of Health Care Reform (Good News)
Posted on 09/16/2009 3:23:12 PM PDT by TroutGuy
Kent Conrad is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and one of the chamber's loudest, and most powerful, deficit hawks. On Tuesday, for instance, he directed the Congressional Budget Office to score the impact of health-care reform over a 20-year time frame, rather than the traditional 10 years. This is a tougher fiscal test than any bill has had to pass in memory. You could see this as a good thing. Reformers sometimes argue that health-care reform's true impact on the cost curve will be seen over the long term. If CBO's scores reflected that, Conrad's demand could be a boon to reform. But Conrad doesn't appear to believe the scores will reflect that. He called the CBO's scoring of the bill's cost controls "stingy," and predicted that "the savings will be greater than CBO is showing." In other words, he thinks the CBO is underestimating the savings that reform will deliver, but he wants to see those savings underestimated over a longer period of time, which will make the total gap between the revenues the CBO predicts and the savings it misses appear larger. It's a bit like the restaurant review from "Annie Hall": The food was terrible, and such small portions! The end result is likely to be a new hurdle for health-care reform: a CBO report that makes the bill's total cost sound higher, as it's measured over 20 years, and its savings seem smaller, as they're underestimated over 20 years. The Huffington Post caught up with Conrad and asked him whether this would kill the reform effort. "No," he replied, "but it makes it more challenging." The question is why Conrad wants to make health-care reform more challenging.
(Excerpt) Read more at voices.washingtonpost.com ...
Is he up for election in 2010? He did not say ObamaCare is dead.
I remember Kent being a major pain regarding the deficit when Bush was president, so if he shows to be one for TOTUS, he’ll be showing himself to be a true hawk.
I don’t think his solutions will be right—higher taxes—but at least he wants gubmint to spend less, maybe.
Translation: higher taxes.
My congressman, Paul Ryan R-Wis, has already said that the CBO scoring of HR3200 shows that costs skyrocket after 2019. I can’t imagine the CBO would score the Senate bill any differently. This will be the final nail in the coffing for THIS reform. But since we do need some reform, I hope they will begin to listen to conservatives. But I’m not counting on it!
La ti da, la ti da!
It’s not that the costs will skyrocket after 2019, it the way the bill is structured. You see, the taxes and fees kick in immediately while the expenditures don’t start for three to five years. In effect, the CBO saw 10 years of revenue and only five years of costs.
In effect, what Conrad did was partially lift this fiscal veil. If you look at 20 years, then you see 20 years of revenue and fifteen years of costs.
I have to wonder if they factor in the "if I'm paying, I'm playing" factor.
IOW, if I have to pay out of pocket, I'm parsimonious about going to the doctor; if I'm paying premiums, I'm more likely to go in order to "get some value" out those payments: therefore, greater per capita usage and resultant higher payouts.