The Democrats are exultant over the preliminary CBO score (preliminary because even the Congressional Budget Office hasn’t had time to examine whether it jives with the previous Senate bill) issued this morning. The score (costing) is on the Democrats’ reconciliation adjustments to the Senate ObamaCare bill that it remains under $1-trillion in spending and that together with added revenues will further reduce the deficit.
There’s increasing amazement at this bald-faced assertion. The real score will be seen this weekend in the Democrats' trickery vote and the consequences they face next November.
The Republican leadership is still trying to decipher the fine print, but are quickly getting to the bottom line. Senator McConnell issued a press release saying: “They get there with even higher taxes and deeper Medicare cuts than the first Senate bill.
“Let’s start with Medicare cuts.
“The Senate bill that Speaker Pelosi said Democrats are so afraid to take a vote on cut Medicare by $465 billion.“This latest bill increases those cuts by about $60 billion more.
“How about taxes?
“The Senate bill that Democrats are so afraid to take a vote on raises taxes by $494 billion.
“This bill increases those tax hikes by at least $150 billion.
“So if you were worried about raising taxes in the middle of a recession, this bill raises taxes even more.
“If you were worried about cutting Medicare for seniors, this bill cuts it even more.
That’s real. There’s more that’s real and unreal. The $500-billion taken from Medicare is real in its impact on seniors' health. That doctors will have their fees further reduced is not real, many already operating at a loss on Medicare business and losses being shifted on to private insurance plans. The tens of billions of spending in future years mandated upon the already near-bankrupt states for expanded Medicaid is real, though not counted by CBO. The negative impacts on employment and the economy are real.
The Washington Post’s WonkRoom says:
One of the most stunning numerical changes is in the excise tax on Cadillac plans. While the bill changes the indexing from inflation plus 1 to inflation — strengthening the provision [ed: meaning another buy-off to unions] — it pushes back the entire effort to 2018 and significantly raises the thresholds. I suspect the bill makes up the difference with the payroll tax and the savings from the college loan provisions. More to come.
The Washington Post reports on throwing into the unrelated health care bill the entirely unrelated federal takeover (except for Democrat Senator Conrad’s state) of student loan lending:
The legislation would also spread some savings among other Democratic education priorities and reduce the deficit by $10 billion over 10 years.
On the Cadillac Tax, the New York Times reports:
Mr. Obama and White House officials reached a deal with organized labor groups to delay the implementation and limit the impact of that tax. As a result, the excise tax will raise only $32 billion over 10 years, according to the budget office.
Of course, that meant coming up with another $118 billion elsewhere to plug the hole. Not a problem: the final legislation imposes a 3.8 percent tax on “unearned income” such as dividends and interest, or on regular income above $200,000 a year for individuals and $250,000 for couples.
The National Taxpayers Union says:
On page 8 of the report (found here) the CBO lists a quick add up of the kinds of new taxes and penalties they believe the American people will be facing in the next decade should this legislation pass. Turns out by 2019, this bill would be responsible for an additional 145 billion in taxes and penalties. Of which, 17 billion will be penalties paid by the uninsured (read: people making under $250,000) and 52 billion will be penalties paid by employers. Imagine trying to job hunt then! Whats more, thats really only a 6 year estimate because the politicians who crafted the bill wanted to make sure no new taxes were put in place before they had to face re-election. Which means a ten year score (2014-2024) of the taxes and penalties would be significantly higher.
Page 24 of today’s preliminary CBO score says that $129.7 billion will be taken from Medicare Advantage plans, versus the $118.1 billion the CBO said a week ago would be taken away.
Then there’s the timing shenanigan of loading revenues up front and costs at the backend of the first 10-years.
What else lurks in the hearts of the Democrats rammming down a non-roll call vote they are planning for this weekend? Will a stake be driven through it?
P.S.: Federal budgets expert Keith Hennessey adds much more info.
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