Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Garrett's $339 Billion Distortion

It's been a while since we've needed a piece like this, but as the Health Insurance debate heats up, one had to guess at some point Representative Scott Garrett was going to start spinning like a top again.

At issue is a floor speech made yesterday, that will also likely be included in this week's Garrett Gazette to mislead constituents. The focus of the speech is a report by HHS Chief Actuary Richard Foster. It has become a rallying cry to those opposed to the health insurance overhaul.

Might as well get into the speech:
According to that chief actuary whom I just mentioned, total spending on health care would actually increase by $750 billion more than if we did nothing at all.
This is the second to last true statement in the speech, an average of $75 billion a year for 10 years.

From Garrett:
You see, the real overall cost of this bill would be $1.2 trillion.
From the Actuary:
We estimate that Federal expenditures would increase by a net total of $861 billion.
That's the $339 billion distortion. Not only is Garrett's gross cost more than $100 billion higher than the Actuary's gross ($1,035 billion), he doesn't mention the savings. It's wholly dishonest of Garrett not to mention the savings.

From Garrett:
After all of this spending, there would still be around 20-some-odd million uninsured Americans. So, for those folks who are trying to keep score of all of this, that comes out to be about $35,000 per uninsured person out there.
First off, the "20-some-odd million" includes illegal immigrants, per the Actuary, so I guess it's nice Garrett's calling them Americans.

Second, based on the above correction in numbers saying that all of the money spent is only to insure the uninsured (which it's not), the cost OVER TEN YEARS is roughly $25,000 per person, or an average of $2,500 per year per newly insured person. Garrett seems back to making up five figure distortions again.

From Garrett:
Now, another promise that the President made was that he said, ‘‘if you like your current coverage, you keep it.’’ Well, again, look back to that government actuary whom we talked about before. According to that chief actuary, that’s not true if you’re a senior on Medicare, because 8.5 million seniors on Medicare today would lose their current coverage, and they would be forced into some different coverage.
This is Garrett scaring seniors again. Readers may remember Medicare Advantage is one of Garrett's favorite taxpayer fleecing programs. He conveniently left out Advantage, from Medicare Advantage, when saying these words.

The reason is because it's inconvenient for him to acknowledge that, according to the Actuary, once insurance companies can't charge the government up to a 40% mark up on the same services provided as Medicare they're likely to reduce their available plans.

Seniors will be able to get the same services, it's just that Medicare won't be billed 40% extra for the same services, thus saving taxpayers money. The Actuary and the CBO see this as a good thing. And Garrett claims to be a fiscal conservative?

From Garrett:
The chief actuary says the cuts could force such organizations, such as nursing homes and home health agencies, to leave the Medicare program and, thus, ‘‘possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries.’’
Readers have to remember that if Garrett had his way, nursing care could be dropped by insurers anyway. Kind of a tough call, but as the Actuary actually said that we'll give this one to Garrett.

I've written before how this speech structure is an effective way to misrepresent the truth: book-ending the misrepresentations with facts to give credibility to the misrepresentations. The added twist here is that Garrett's talking about a report based on a bill that does not exist anymore, and won't be voted on.

And the spin goes on...

No comments: