There is one number about which Harry Reid and the Democrats almost never talk: 255 million.
That is the number of Americans who have health insurance, according to the September 2009 Report released by the Census Bureau (at page 20). The vast majority of those people (70%) are happy with their coverage, and only 6% rate their coverage as “poor.”
According to the CBO “scoring” of Harry Reid’s 2,074 page plan, released last night, we will spend a trillion dollars to provide coverage to 31 million people not previously covered. I have a real problem with that number because CBO starts from an inflated assumption that there are 55 million uninsured, but for this purpose, I’ll accept it as accurate.
What does Harry Reid’s plan do for the 255 million? Very little. There are some useful insurance reform provisions which could be achieved without restructuring the health care system.
But on balance, the bill does nothing for the 255 million, except add several hundred billion dollars in higher taxes, government intrusion, massive new bureaucracies, de facto rationing, cutbacks in coverage for the elderly, cuts in payments to doctors, and a Trojan horse “opt-out” public option which will be used to push the nation towards a single-payer system. Since nothing ever costs what the government estimates, we are likely to see crushing deficits from this new entitlement, regardless of the rosy assumptions built into the CBO scoring.
Unless and until Democrats can make the case for the 255 million, this bill should be DOA.
Update: Keith Hennessey has a good list of all the new taxes (WARNING: Some people may find the content of this link disturbing).