Dennis Deery

A little perspective on the health care bill

March 23, 2010

So, did you bother to read the Congressional Budget Office scoring of the health care reform bill passed this weekend? Did you know that this bill could actually reduce the deficit? Funnily enough, many opponents will say they don’t believe the CBO numbers. Somehow though, when pressed, those opponents don’t seem to have any numbers of their own. You think this will bankrupt the nation? Show me your numbers!

There is an incredible lack of perspective on this issue, in my humble opinion. People have trouble with all the numbers bandied about. Sure, it’s a complex issue. But let’s break it down. The CBO estimates this bill will cost us $940 billion over the next ten years. The CBO also estimates that increased taxes, costs savings and other revenues will amount to a net savings of $138 billion over ten years.

But just for giggles, let’s pretend that those offsets and revenues don’t happen. Let’s pretend that all this reform gives us is a $940 billion bill to pay over the next ten years. Where does that fit in the general scheme of things?

Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001, the United States has spent something just over $974 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. $108 billion per year. Hmmm…

For the fiscal year 2010, the Defense Department has a budget of $533 billion. Yes, for one year. No, that does not include the $130 billion budgeted for Iraq and Afghanistan this year.

Yep. We’re talking about spending $94 billion per year (IF there are no cost savings or additional tax revenues!) providing health care for people. 17% as much as we spend on our military budget. Really sounds like Armageddon to me.

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