How Does the Health Care Bill Get Paid For?
April 06, 2010
Here, from the Tax Foundation, is a helpful chart that shows how the first decade of health care reform is paid for. It’s interesting to note that, while many opponents of reform cast it as an expansion of government entitlement programs, the biggest source of funding is reductions in medicare, an expensive entitlement program.
Also, you may have heard people debating whether the bill costs money or saves it over the long run. This chart shows that the first decade of the bill reduces the deficit by a few billion dollars (the chart adds to $1.08 trillion while the bill only costs $938 billion). When supporters talk about the bill reducing the deficit by “over a trillion dollars” they’re looking at two decades. And critics of the bill rightly note that a lot of the cost savings that are scheduled to take effect in 2019 are going to be hard to follow through on politically when the time comes, so that reduction isn’t guaranteed by any means. When you imagine taking out some of the sources of funding that are least likely to happen in 2019, the bill actually raises the deficit.
At the end of the day, whether the bill costs the country money or saves it depends on tough decisions a future congress will face. On the cable news shows, Democrats and Republicans consistently talk past each other on that point.