Debating the President’s Portsmouth pitch (part 8)
Here is the President talking about health care reform in Portsmouth, New Hampshire:
[If we do nothing] our deficit will continue to grow because Medicare and Medicaid are on an unsustainable path. Medicare is slated to go into the red in about eight to 10 years.
This statement is true. But the President and his budget director have lowered their bar to say only that health care reform must not increase the deficit, not that it must reduce the deficit. If legislation “cuts” Medicare spending and turns right around and re-spends those funds to create a new rapidly growing health care entitlement, then the underlying deficit problem is unresolved. The legislation being developed in both the House and the Senate just barely meets this condition.
The President’s budget director argues that other reforms in legislation will “bend the cost curve down.” The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office disagrees, and says the House bill will increase long-term budget deficits relative to current law.