The Washington Times - April 15, 2011, 11:52AM

Guest Post: Jeanne Marie Hoffman


President Barack Obama’s speech at George Washington University last week partially blamed George W. Bush’s prescription drug plan for the budget crisis. At the same time he expressed outrage at the Republicans who wish to downscale his own health care plan.

The president appeared to speak about his budget plan, but was careful to once again blame Republican policies. Obama attempted to explain the reason the United States got into this situation is because of “increased spending dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription drug program…” The President used these examples to highlight how short sighted law makers were when committing to those expensive programs, with no current way to pay for any of it– sound familiar?  He continued on by stressing that Americans “…have to live within our means, reduce our deficit, and get back on a path that will allow us to pay down our debt.”

However, his fiscal responsibility disappeared when he began speaking about the Republican vision to reduce the deficit by making numerous cuts - including ones to health care. In an apparent about face from his previous statements Obama excoriated Republicans saying  “their plan lowers the government’s health care bills by asking seniors and poor families to pay them instead.  Our approach lowers the government’s health care bills by reducing the cost of health care itself.”

President Obama has relied on an estimate by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that his health care plan with reduce the deficit by a trillion over the next twenty years. The report is based on a variety of factors, including healthier people due to incentives for preventative measures by doctors.  But this is all speculative.  

The former director of CBO, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, admitted in a New York Times Op-Ed that their estimates are based on the “face value” of legislation and does not take “plausibility” into account (March 21, 2010).  He estimates that if plausibility were taken into account, the health care plan would increase the deficit by $562 billion in the first ten years—a far cry from the President’s one trillion savings over the next twenty.

President Obama needs to look his own health care plan—the costs that can get out of hand, the overall economic costs of the regulations within, and how much of our commitment to health care is outside of our “means” as a nation.

Obama is on the right track by noting that we cannot succeed as a nation by committing to funds we do not have; however, he needs to internalize this before he continues to enact more programs that commit us to more funds that we currently do not have as a nation.  It is time to tighten our belts.

Jeanne Marie Hoffman is a freelance writer based out of Arlington, Virginia. Her pieces have appeared in the publications that include The Weekly Standard and The American Spectator.