The Corner

An Obamacare What If

Peter Suderman has written a follow-up on that Prowler story Dan linked to yesterday. Prowler alleges that, prior to the health-care vote, Obama’s Health and Human Services Department sat on a government report showing that Obamacare would bend the health-care cost-curve up, not down as the bill’s supporters claimed. HHS denies it. I have no idea who is right — I’m willing to believe either side — but it might be worth asking: What if the report had come out before the health-care vote?

I suspect it wouldn’t have made much difference. It’s not like anyone actually believed the Democrats’ fantastical claims about their plan’s ability to control costs and reduce the deficit. The CBO score was gamed more times than a substitute teacher, and the government agency that issued the report in question had already issued a similar one, which was mostly ignored. I suspect liberals would have reacted the same way they’re reacting now: A lot of hand-waving and excuses and references to the second ten years — because, you know, that’s when the cost controls and deficit reduction really kick in.

Remember, the Democrats didn’t pass the bill because the public wanted cost controls. What public support they had for the bill derived from its subsidies, which are expected to increase demand for medical services and drive costs up. If, prior to the vote, the government had issued an official report confirming this intuitive expectation, the Democrats would have ignored it and passed the bill anyway.

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