Tags: healthcare | reform | taxes

Expert: Healthcare Reform Hidden Costs To Trigger 'Massive' New Taxes

Friday, 13 Nov 2009 11:38 AM

By David Patten

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Congress is using "every budget gimmick in the book" to conceal hundreds of billions in healthcare-reform costs that will lead to "massive tax increases" and higher insurance premiums, one of the country's leading healthcare experts warns.

Dr. Robert E. Moffit, a senior official in the Department of Health and Human Services during the Reagan administration, who now directs the Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies, tells Newsmax that taxpayers are about to be blindsided by a spiraling healthcare expenses.

Moffit says the sharp jump in costs will occur despite what he calls President Obama's "absurd promise" that that his healthcare reform proposals would bring sharp reductions in Americans' healthcare bills.

To see the video of Newsmax's conversation with Moffit — Click Here.

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As a candidate, Obama pledged his plan would save the typical American family $2,500 a year in healthcare costs.

"We find his statements to be overly optimistic, misleading and, to some extent, contradicted by one of his own advisers," the Annenberg FactCheck.org Web site reported at the time. "And it masks the true cost of his plan to cover millions of Americans who now have no health insurance."

Masking the true cost of healthcare is exactly what Democrats have done, Moffit says.

"You're going to see higher premiums, you're going to have higher taxes, you're going to have higher premiums for Medicare," Moffit tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. "And you're not getting a bend in the spending curve, but rather a $1.3 trillion dollar explosion in additional spending over the next 10 years.

"So I don't know what the White House thinks we're drinking, but the truth of the matter is, none of this is believable," he says.

Moffit says taxpayers' first installment on healthcare's hidden costs may come as early as next week, when the House is scheduled to take up the $210 billion "doctor's fix" bill.

The "doctor's fix," Beltway insiders say, is a familiar congressional ruse. Members pass supposed Medicare "cuts" that make them appear fiscally prudent, but then later "fix" the funding to restore what was supposed to be trimmed. So the $210 billion payment enables Congress to avoid making good on an earlier pledge to trim the deficit by limiting Medicare reimbursements to doctors.

Majority leader Harry Reid recently suffered an embarrassing loss when he tried to pass a similar "doctor's fix" in the Senate. That bill was defeated in committee by moderate Democrats and Republicans, who didn't want their names attached to another spending bill.

Originally, the House's $210 billion "doctor's fix" was included in the healthcare reform proposal presented by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in July.

The Congressional Budget Office determined Pelosi's original bill would add $239 billion to the deficit over 10 years, however. That sent House Democrats back to the drawing board, and Pelosi simply removed the "fix," introducing it as separate legislation.

During an interview conducted by Kathleen Walter of Newsmax.TV, Moffit said: "We've been through this as long as I can remember going all the way back to the Reagan administration. Banking serious healthcare savings on projected cuts in Medicare is folly. There is no ground for believing any of these cuts will ever ultimately materialize."

Moffit likens the congressional shell game to keeping the balance low on one credit-card by shifting expenses to another. Sooner or later, taxpayers get stuck with the bill.

According to some Democrats, removing the $210 billion item from healthcare reform was legitimate because narrowing the gap between doctors' true costs and their Medicare reimbursements had nothing to do with healthcare reform.

"That's strictly true," writes Peter Suderman, associate editor for Reason Magazine, "but I also think it was in the original House bill for a reason: It's the offering Democrats are using to buy the support of doctors, who don't want to see their Medicare reimbursements cut. By putting it in the original bill, I think Democrats signaled pretty clearly that they think the two are related -- but now that CBO-certified deficit neutrality has become their major concern, they're trying to back away."

Both the American Medical Association and the AARP have endorsed the healthcare reform bill passed by the House, which includes the controversial public-option run by the government. The reform bill also purports to cut Medicare costs.

Democrats in Congress, Moffit adds, are disregarding recent polls showing most Americans oppose the current reform proposals. Polls also show voters expect reform will increase rather than reduce their healthcare expenses.

"What I find remarkable about this entire thing," Moffit tells Newsmax, "and frankly I've never seen anything like this before … is knowing this is true, Congress is basically saying to the American people: '…We frankly do not care what you think, we're going to give this to you, we're going to impose this on you, whether you like it or not.' … They really don't care what ordinary Americans think about what they're trying to do to their healthcare system."

Moffit reluctantly concludes that "when it comes to fiscal responsibility, members of Congress are simply not trustworthy."

Several research studies conducted by insurance companies predict consumers' health insurance premiums could more than double, if current reform proposals are enacted.

Paying doctors the additional $210 billion, according to CBO estimates, will also trigger a $49 billion hike in seniors' Medicare Part B premiums between 2011 and 2019.

Despite growing taxpayer resistance, congressional Democrats are beginning to discuss imposing a major new value added tax.

"We're looking at massive tax increases," Moffit warns, "and probably much higher deficits. Because when you put it all together, you're talking about a massive increase in spending."

To see the video of Newsmax's conversation with Moffit — Click Here.

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