If you think government is too big and too costly, wait until Obamacare kicks in. The Congressional Budget Office put the price tag of the House Democrats' health care takeover plans at $1.5 trillion over 10 years. But the CBO's fine print included a telltale caveat:
"We have not yet estimated the administrative costs to the federal government of implementing the specified policies, nor have we accounted for all of the proposal's likely effects on spending for other federal programs."
You don't need an accounting degree or clairvoyant powers. The administrative costs and spillover spending effects will be astronomical. Look at existing federal programs. In 1966, the Office of Management and Budget put the total taxpayer costs for Medicare at $64 million. In 2011, Medicare costs are expected to balloon to nearly $500 billion. Medicaid cost $770 million in 1966. By 2011, that program will cost taxpayers an estimated $264 billion. The Virginia-based Council for Affordable Health Insurance estimated that the administrative expenses of both programs last decade were 66 percent higher than those of private sector health insurance companies.
And we ain't seen nothing yet. House Republicans on the Joint Economic Committee sifted through their opponents' 1,018-page health care bill and released a dizzying flow chart detailing the Byzantine bureaucracy Obamacare would create. Washington would become the home of at least 31 new federal programs, agencies and commissions to oversee the government-run health insurance regime.
Because 32 "czars" isn't enough, the Democratic plan would add another overlord to the Obama administration. The new "Health Choices Commissioner" would helm the new "Health Choices Administration" (section 141 of the bill) -- separate from the already existing Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (formerly the Health Care Financing Administration), the Veterans Health Administration and the Indian Health Service.
Because the government has done such a boffo job managing the near-bankrupt Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds, the Democrats have proposed creating a "Public Health Investment Fund" and a "Health Insurance Exchange Trust Fund." The latter would create a "transparent and functional marketplace for individuals and small employers to comparison shop among private and public insurers."
No matter that state insurance departments already operate such systems. Health care must be "fixed." The federal cure is redundancy.