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MURDOCK: 17 trillion more reasons to repeal Obamacare
Law’s long-term costs will more than double our current unfunded liability
Question of the Day
Just this week, several brand-new reasons have emerged for repealing Obamacare. Like proper, government-designed straitjackets, they come in three sizes: hefty, huge and humongous. The hefty reason to repeal Obamacare arrived just in time for the April 17 tax-filing deadline. As Sam Baker reported Monday in the Hill newspaper, “The Obama administration is quietly diverting roughly $500 million to the IRS to help implement the president’s health care law.”
That’s right. Team Obama is handing the Internal Revenue Service one half of a $1 billion implementation fund supervised by the Health and Human Services Department. This money will help the IRS hire 300 employees to oversee the individual mandate currently before the Supreme Court. These new IRS agents also would handle Obamacare’s $22.2 billion in new taxes on drug companies and $60.1 billion in new taxes on health insurers. The IRS also has asked Congress to finance 537 other new staffers to administer Obamacare’s subsidies for low-income patients.
The huge reason to repeal Obamacare arose Tuesday in a study titled “Fiscal Consequences of the Affordable Care Act.” As I recently proposed, Obamacare should be re-dubbed the Unaffordable Care Act. This 2,801-page law continues to threaten individual liberty and America’s wobbly finances.
“I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period,” Mr. Obama promised a joint session of Congress on Sept. 9, 2009. Alas, this is yet another sad float in Mr. Obama’s disappointing parade of shattered promises.
“Over the years 2012-21, the ACA [ObamaCare] is expected to add at least $340 billion and as much as $530 billion to federal deficits while increasing federal spending by more than $1.15 trillion over the same period and by increasing amounts thereafter.”
So concludes Charles Blahous in his fastidious, 52-page monograph for the free-market Mercatus Center. Mr. Blahous, who earned a doctorate in computational quantum chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, is a veteran entitlements expert. In October 2009, Mr. Obama appointed Mr. Blahous to the board of the Social Security Trust Fund.
“The enactment of the ACA has seriously worsened a federal fiscal outlook that was already untenable over the long term,” Mr. Blahous found. “The ACA both increases a federal commitment to health care spending that was already unsustainable under prior law and would exacerbate projected federal deficits relative to prior law. This is an unambiguous conclusion.”
The humongous reason to repeal Obamacare is that it engorges America’s unfunded liabilities.
Jeff Sessions, the Senate Budget Committee’s top Republican, asked his staff to calculate Obamacare’s long-term unfunded liability. Please be seated. That figure is $17 trillion. This surpasses today’s $15.6 trillion national debt by 9 percent.
Mr. Sessions’ analysts did not hallucinate this number. As the Alabaman explained March 29 on the Senate floor, “My staff used the models that are used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and worked diligently to come up with a figure.” They spent three months to determine how much more “money we don’t have but that we are committed to spend” and relied on “the administration’s own optimistic assumptions and claims about the cost of the law.”
“I was floored by what we discovered,” Mr. Sessions said. “This health law adds an entirely new obligation - one we cannot pay for - and puts the entire financing of the United States government in jeopardy. We don’t have the money. We don’t have another $17 trillion in unfunded liabilities that we can add to our account.”
From Solicitor General Donald Verrilli’s tongue-tied defense of the Unaffordable Care Act before the Supreme Court to Mr. Obama’s chilling slap at the court’s judicial review of his signature law to its rocketlike cost curve, Obamacare increasingly deserves to be unplugged. If the court does not drop-kick Obamacare into the Potomac, the American people need to drop-kick Mr. Obama back to Chicago and elect a new president and members of Congress who will speed Obamacare the way of the iron lung.
Deroy Murdock is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with Stanford’s Hoover Institution.
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