OBAMA CAN'T BE TRUSTED WITH NUMBERS, SO WHY SHOULD WE TRUST HIM WITH HEALTH CARE?

July 9, 2009

The Obama administration consistently pledges unrealistic results that it later distances itself from.  It has gotten away with it because the media haven't asked many pointed questions.  That may not last as the debate shifts to health care, says Karl Rove, the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

The Obama administration wants a government takeover of health care.  To get it, it is promising to wring massive savings out of the health care industry.  And it has already started to make cost-savings promises, says Rove.  For example:

  • The administration strong-armed health care providers into promising $2 trillion in health savings.
  • It got pharmaceutical companies to promise to lower drug prices for seniors by $80 billion over 10 years.
  • The administration also trotted out hospital executives to say that they would voluntarily save the government $150 billion over 10 years.

None of this comes near to being true, says Rove.  On the promised $2 trillion, everyone admits that the number isn't built on anything specific -- it's an aspirational goal.  On drug prices, a White House spokesman admitted that "These savings have not been identified at the moment."  It is speculative that these cuts will actually be made, when they would begin, or whether they would reduce government health care spending.

None of this will stop the administration from arguing that its "savings" will pay for Obama's $1.5 trillion health care plans.  By the time the real price tag emerges, it will be too late to do much more than raise taxes and curtail spending on urgent priorities, such as the military, says Rove.

Source: Karl Rove, "Obama Can't Be Trusted With Numbers; So why should we trust him with health care?" Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2009.

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