Megan McCardle, Atlantic Online, “CBO: Democrats Double-Counting Medicare Savings“:
The notion that the health care reform bill would make Medicare more solvent and also expand benefits never made any sense. The health care reform bill makes cuts to Medicare, and uses them to pay for new spending; to the extent that we think we need to pay for, um, Medicare with cuts to Medicare, this bill actually weakens either the program, or our future budgets.
McCardle does a good job of explaining the complicated budget juggling involving trust funds. Bottom line, as per CBO: “To describe the full amount of HI trust fund savings as both improving the government’s ability to pay future Medicare benefits and financing new spending outside of Medicare would essentially double-count a large share of those savings and thus overstate the improvement in the government’s fiscal position.”
University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein at PointofLaw.com, “Impermissible Ratemaking in Health-Insurance Reform: Why the Reid Bill is Unconstitutional“:
In effect, the onerous obligations under the Reid Bill would convert private health insurance companies into virtual public utilities. This action is not only a source of real anxiety but also a decision of constitutional proportions, for it systematically strips the regulated health-insurance issuers of their constitutional entitlement to earn a reasonable rate of return on the massive amounts of capital that they have already invested in building out their businesses.
Unconstitutional and full of budgetary flim-flam. Thank goodness the Senate votes early Wednesday. Otherwise Christmas would be ruined.
UPDATE (7:10 p.m.): Sure, hurry up and vote. “WH putting health-care off until …February?“