Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Obama Advisor Admits: Administration Plan Breaks Campaign Promise

In the Wall Street Journal today, David Cutler has an op-ed arguing that the Administration’s health plan should be enacted as a way to lower costs.  He estimates that the bill will lower costs by “nearly $600 billion over the next decade.”  Notwithstanding the fact that the Administration’s own actuaries have projected the Senate health bill will RAISE costs, not lower them, it’s worth noting that Cutler is the same individual who, as an advisor to the Obama campaign, was a prime source of the claims by the then-Senator that his plan would “bring down premiums by $2,500 for the typical family…by the end of my first term as President of the United States.”    At the time, Cutler and two co-authors predicted that the Obama plan would reduce costs by $214 billion per year – but Cutler has now “defined down” that number to $600 billion over ten years.  While Cutler claims that the Administration plan contains six of ten elements necessary to contain costs, it also achieves only 28% of the Obama campaign’s promised savings.  If containing health costs – as opposed to expanding coverage through costly new entitlements – is truly the prime goal of the Obama “reforms,” how could achieving less than 30% of the campaign’s promised savings goal (even using the Administration’s rosiest possible models) be considered success?

Further in that vein, David Brooks has a good column in this morning’s New York Times outlining the problems with Democrats’ near-obsession with universal coverage legislation: An ignorance of the need to create jobs first and foremost, and a willingness to gimmick their way to a costly new entitlement.  The column picks apart the budgetary “dodges” in the Senate bill and White House plan, arguing very plausibly that the scenario envisioned by David Cutler is unlikely to be realized, and that the bill is much more likely to result in a large and growing drain on the federal fisc.