Christina Romer, Chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, testified today to the House Committee on the Budget about the economic benefits of health care reform “done right”. If we can slow the growth of health care spending, she explained, we’ll spend less on health care.
Ranking committee member Paul Ryan (WI – 1) was apparently confused that President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors needed a 51 page report to reach such an obvious conclusion. He asked Ms. Romer why she would give such a cheerful report without discussing the “positive” effects of a single specific health care proposal. We think we know the answer, Congressman Ryan.
The actual plans that Democrats have proposed fail to significantly reduce spending. Most actually increase it! The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has predicted that “Comparative Effectiveness Research” – one of the Obama administration’s favorite panaceas – may actually increase federal spending by $1.1 billion over the next 10 years. Perhaps the CBO missed Obama’s wink when he promised not to ration federal medical care?
Meanwhile, the CBO estimates that leading health care reform proposals like Sen. Ted Kennedy’s “Affordable Health Choices Act” will cost the government at least $1 trillion over the next 10 years. This is a massive subsidy to the health care lobby and does nothing to “bend the curve” of health care spending. Or at least, it does nothing to bend it downward. Perhaps in her next statement to Congress, Ms. Romer should give a somewhat more relevant presentation on the costs of health care reform done wrong. If we subsidize health care spending, we’ll spend more on health care. Duh!