President Barack Obama says he wants to be the last president who has to deal with health care. But it is abundantly clear from his speech tonight that he has no plan to fix the problems in health care as they exist today, much less to settle the issue for good.

The primary problem in health care is rapid cost escalation. The president has promised for months now that he would have a plan to “bend the cost-curve.” Indeed, even tonight, he spoke of the plans being worked on in Congress as if they would address the problem of rising costs and improve our long-term budget outlook.

It’s as if the president and his team haven’t read anything that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said about the health care bills under consideration. The truth is that these bills would add an additional runaway health care entitlement to the ones already on the federal books. CBO has said that the House bill would set in motion new spending that would grow at about 8 percent rate per year, while the revenue to pay for it would increase only about 5 percent per year. You don’t have to be a financial genius to sse a problem here.

Today, the Lewin Group confirmed again how fiscally irresponsible the House bill is. According to Lewin’s estimates, the bill passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee would increase the federal budget deficit by $1 trillion between now and 2029, and permanently increase the nation’s total health care bill. Moreover, they estimate that the uninsured would face an average of $1,400 in increased costs from the House bill per year. Others with insurance would see a small decrease in costs, but that assumes no increase in taxes to pay for the government’s mounting bills.

The country does need to enact sensible health care reforms. But the plan the president is pushing would exacerbate the fundamental problem, not address it. And that’s why the public has turned against it.


September 9, 2009