The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Special Report with Bret Baier  Wednesday, March 14, 2012

On revised CBO projections showing that Obamacare will cost about $1 trillion more over ten years than originally promised in 2010:

Well, when [we] talk[ed] about this in 2009 and 2010, we were saying there was a fraud at the very center of these numbers . . . .

The Democrats understood that the CBO always projects ten years. So they built Obamacare [so that] for the first of four years there is nothing going out. It doesn’t start [paying benefits] until 2014. So you do a ten-year projection — but you have only six years of spending, so it looks as if it has decade-long low numbers.

As we approach the beginning of the program and the no-spending period fades behind us, we get a real appreciation of the ten-year spending which will kick in in two years and extend until the end of time. And when you do that, you end up not with numbers that Obama had promised [$900 billion], but a number that a lot of Republicans and conservatives had pointed out would be roughly what it is — and it’s what [Senator Jeff] Sessions is talking about today: $2.5 trillion.

Think about that. It means on the average every year — again, until the end of time — we are going to add at least a quarter of a trillion dollars in entitlement spending onto a deficit that already was crushing us in the absence of Obamacare.

On the Democrats’ suggestion that preventive care — covered under the 2010 law — will lead to lower costs:

It’s rubbish.

It has been shown by really very specific. . . scientific studies that preventative care, which always sounds wonderful, increases cost.

And the reason is: If you prevent a person from getting a disease like stroke, you save money. [But] you never know who will get the stroke. So you do screening and all kind of preventative care over huge populations. And that is where the money is [expended].

You do thousands of mammograms. And you might get one or two [cases of cancer].

Now, look, it will save a life and that is why we do it [prevention]. But there isn’t a free lunch — even in prevention. The idea that looking at one person and finding the disease lowers cost — and it will do the same over a population — is not true.

So, everybody always looks for a panacea or a free lunch. It doesn’t exist in medicine. In fact, it’s the opposite. The most rigorous studies have shown that widest scale prevention and screening adds dramatically to healthcare costs.

On Mitt Romney’s prospects following third-place finishes in Mississippi and Alabama:

That’s a hell of a way to build up enthusiasm — to argue “I have got the math, elect me.” It doesn’t exactly stir the soul . . . .

The storyline continues: Romney is strong enough to stay ahead consistently, but he is not strong enough to pull away. That is a story of the campaign.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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