Rick Berman

A majority of supposedly fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats have blindsided constituents in cash-strapped states (and let’s face it, at this point, which states aren’t cash-strapped?) with a budgetary double whammy.

A cadre of Democrats dedicated to helping the federal government achieve a balanced budget, the Blue Dogs total 54 members. Thirty of these "fiscal conservatives" just voted to pass the new multi trillion dollar health care law.

How much is a trillion dollars? That’s a one with 12 zeros. The now well known accounting gimmicks woven throughout this legislation were put in place to mask the real costs. So count on this law adding much more than its advertised price tag to the already mind numbing 12 trillion dollar national debt.

That’s whammy number one.

We also need to consider the states, and herein lays the Blue Dog double whammy. Health care reform won’t just hasten the bankrupting of the federal government: It also adds billions of dollars in financial obligations to states that are teetering on the edge of insolvency.

Consider California. Already some $20 billion in the red, the nation’s largest state will have to contend with a huge addition to their Medicaid rolls mandated by health care reform – anyone making 133% of the poverty line will be eligible to apply. In addition, health care reform requires that the states increase their reimbursement rate for doctors as well as outpatient Medicaid providers. According to the New York Times, these numbers could total as much as $2.5 billion in new expenditures for the state.

Not only did all six members of the Blue Dog caucus from California vote to add to the federal budget’s woes, they also voted to hasten the bankrupting of their home state. Had these 6 dogs voted as they had campaigned for office, this fiscal train wreck that passed with a margin of 3 votes to spare would have gone down.

That’s two budgets blown up in a single vote. Not bad for a day’s work.

The Californians aren’t alone. Texas’s lone Blue Dog Democrat, Henry Cuellar, voted for health care reform. The leftwing Center for Public Policy Priorities said that this legislation, were it to go into effect today, would cost Texas an additional $370 million a year. That’s a lot of fajitas for a state facing a budget gap next year.

Rick Berman

Rick Berman is the President of Berman and Company, a Washington, D.C.–based public affairs firm specializing in research, communications, and creative advertising.