Critical Condition

NRO’s health-care blog.

Republicans Can’t Afford to Parrot the Democrats’ False Numbers


So far, Republicans are using the numbers that the Democrats want them to use for the taxes and Medicare cuts imposed by Senator Reid’s new bill.

The Democrats want everyone to quote figures from 2010 to 2019, even though only 1 percent of the bill’s “ten year” costs would hit in the first four years of that period, while 99 percent would hit in the last six.

The bill’s real first ten years are from 2014 to 2023, during which time the Congressional Budget Office says the $1.8-trillion bill would raise Americans’ taxes by $892 billion, would funnel $802 billion out of Medicare, and — if it didn’t follow through on its pledge to cut doctors’ payments under Medicare by 23 percent in 2011 and never raise them back up — would increase deficits by $286 billion.

These are the figures that accurately reflect the bills’ costs, taxes, Medicare cuts, and deficit-spending. Yet, so far, most Republicans have seemingly been content to cite the figures for taxes and Medicare cuts that the Democrats want them to cite — figures that (whether by careful design or not) come in below the threshold figure of $500 billion.

Republicans should be talking about the bill’s $800 billion increases in taxes, the $800 billion it would siphon from Medicare to spend elsewhere, and the fact that it would either cut doctors’ payments by $431 billion or increase deficits by nearly $300 billion — one or the other.  They shouldn’t be cutting those figures in half.


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