Michael F. Cannon

Even President Obama himself has described his attempt to overhaul health care as “an ugly process.”  Count on things getting even uglier when the final vote occurs this weekend.  In the pressure cooker of a final vote, the president and his allies will add even more bribes and arm-twisting to “persuade” members to vote for a government takeover of health care.

Here’s what supporters have done (so far) to advance their legislation:

First, supporters hid more than half of the cost of their legislation.

Sean Hannity FREE

Remember how in 2003, the Bush administration suppressed an unflattering cost estimate of its Medicare prescription drug benefit by threatening to fire Medicare’s chief actuary? That was bad enough.  But what supporters of the Obama plan have done is an order of magnitude worse.

The Obama plan, like President Clinton’s in 1993, would impose huge mandates on the private sector.  Democratic economists, including Obama advisor Larry Summers, acknowledge these are essentially taxes.  In 1994, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that those taxes accounted for 60 percent of the Clinton plan’s cost. 

This time, supporters manipulated the CBO’s rules to prevent the agency from tallying those taxes, effectively hiding $1.5 trillion of the bill’s $2.5 trillion cost.

Second, supporters changed the rules to suit their partisan purposes.

Michael F. Cannon

Michael F. Cannon is the Cato Institute's director of health policy studies.
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