Worse still, the Senate bill's $829 billion cost estimate doesn't attempt to account for the total cost to Americans - only for the cost to government. Factor in the cost to businesses and families of buying government-approved health insurance and the total cost soars to $2 trillion, says Michael Cannon, health policy director at Cato Institute.
If Congress can order us to use our own money to buy goods or services that we might not otherwise purchase, what's to stop it from ordering us to drive hybrid vehicles, install solar panels on our homes, or eat our vegetables?
So let's say someone who still holds to the old-fashioned notion that America is "a free country" decides to spend her own money as she darn well pleases and buys health insurance that doesn't meet government's criteria. Then what?
According to a memo from the Joint Committee on Taxation, such independence would result in a $1,900 income tax penalty from the IRS. Refusal to pay the penalty would subject the taxpayer to a misdemeanor criminal charge carrying a fine of $25,000 and up to one year in jail.
What is so wrong with American health care that justifies this type of authoritarian government? And what does it say about Democrats who would jail those who spend their own money however they choose?
Contrary to President Obama's oft-repeated disinformation, health care spending had nothing to do with the implosion of the financial markets. In fact, the biggest problems in health care and the most expensive problems in government emanate from government health care programs. Medicare, for example, is nearly bankrupt and carries a long-term deficit of $89 trillion.
Only in Washington is it conventional wisdom that the cure for big government's errors is to make them bigger.