Sen. Dick Durbin Versus the Reality of Obamacare
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) 5% made a rather passionate — albeit flawed and confusing — plea Thursday on the Senate floor for the salvation of President Obama’s signature healthcare law. He may have been successful on the emotional manipulation front, but he clearly can’t face the facts about Obamacare and damage it’s causing.
Sorry Sen. Durbin, Obamacare Doesn’t Lower Healthcare Costs for the Federal Government
SEN. DURBIN: “60 percent of our national deficit, 60 percent of our national debt, projected for the next five or ten years, is associated with the cost of healthcare.”
REALITY CHECK: It’s unclear exactly what the Senator meant since debt and deficit are different things, and five and ten years are different lengths of time, but he is correct to say healthcare spending comprises a massive amount of federal spending.
SEN. DURBIN: “We by a lot of healthcare as a federal government. Medicare for the elderly and disabled. Medicaid for those who are low income. Veterans, to make certain that we keep our promise to them for good medical care. Indian healthcare. A variety of others.”
REALITY CHECK: Let’s look at his claim about Medicaid spending, because Obamacare will mean Medicaid for virtually all Americans. Heritage has explained why this is hugely problematic. Low physician payments mean that many doctors do not accept Medicaid, which means that health outcomes for patients on Medicaid remain poor, and in some cases even worse than uninsured individuals. Sen. Durbin would do well to refrain from boasting about Medicaid.
SEN. DURBIN: “So as healthcare costs go up, the cost of the government go up, and they squeeze out all other spending. Spending on things like medical research. Things like education. Helping students have the money they need to go to college.”
REALITY CHECK: The federal government’s policies are certainly not helping college students, as Heritage has explained, but I digress. Again, it is true that healthcare costs for the federal government – in other words, for American taxpayers – are skyrocketing.
SEN. DURBIN: “So, when we talk about Affordable Care Act, and Obamacare, we are talking about dealing with a healthcare issue that directly impacts the debt of the United States of America. So we passed this bill to try to start to reduce the cost of health insurance and to make health insurance more available.”
REALITY CHECK. Obamacare will not reduce health care costs in America, and it will certainly not reduce our debt by reducing health care spending. Only a liberal could assert that a massive new healthcare entitlement program like Obamacare could actually reduce federal healthcare spending. Oh, and have you seen the emperor’s new clothes?
But Sen. Durbin is making the same flawed claim that Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) made in February. It remains false today. Heritage explained in February:
So spending is estimated to decrease for Medicare and Medicaid in 2020 by $200 billion but Obamacare spends an extra $187 billion more than would have been spent in the absence of the law. Thus, whatever “savings” were projected have been gobbled up by Obamacare and its massive new spending.
And don’t let the CBO’s estimate distract from the major issue of health spending. As Heritage pointed out last week, in just two years, “[s]pending on Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare subsidies, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program will be greater than all other spending—including Social Security and defense spending.” Obamacare alone contributes $1.6 trillion over the next 10 years towards this huge problem.
Right, Obamacare Isn’t Perfect
SEN. DURBIN: “I don’t think the bill we passed, Obamacare, health care reform, is a perfect bill. There’s hardly anything we do here that’s perfect or even close. And I think it could be changed for the better… A positive view is to take this measure, improve it where we can, and work to make it part of America’s future like Social Security, like Medicare, like Medicaid.”
REALITY CHECK. Obamacare cannot be fixed. Why? It is fundamentally flawed in a way that small tweaks won’t change. It is based on the notion that the federal government should decide what kind of health care plan you have and which doctors you choose from. As former Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner said:
This will not be our fate. Americans do not line up for instructions from Washington. By their good character and dedication to the principles of liberty, Americans will never resign themselves to being the wards of a bureaucratic state where all is subject to government control, regulatory dictate and administrative whim.
Obamacare is a cancer. We must not rest until we are rid of it.