Home > Health Care, Politics > Baucus plan doesn’t pay for itself, but it sort of does if you’re the Senate Majority Leader

Baucus plan doesn’t pay for itself, but it sort of does if you’re the Senate Majority Leader

By now, most know it’s impossible for the Democrats to produce a health-care bill that “pays for itself.” First of all, it’s a silly rhetorical concept that really only exists in the fantasy world of late-night infomercials and the heads of politicians, but even if it were a real-world economic possibility, no one believes Washington can absorb 47 million people into a system that, by the plan’s defenders’ own account, is already unsustainably, outrageously expensive — all without adding costs.

So, if Washington allegedly won’t have to pay a dime for this “budget-neutral” plan, who or what will? A-ha … trick question, glasshoppa, because we’ve already established that Washington (i.e., federal taxpayers) will, in fact, be on the hook. But Democrats are blowing smoke and holding up a lot of mirrors — about 50, to be exact — to maintain their zero-cost story. The 50 mirrors? The states (i.e. state taxpayers, whom typically are federal taxpayers, too, so we can loosely call this a double tax for the new health-care plan: see preceding sentence). Yes, it’s the states that will be on the hook for a staggering expansion of state-funded Medicaid to cover many of the 47 million who lack coverage today.

But wait — I don’t want to exaggerate: it looks like only 49 of the 50 will bear the brunt of the Baucus plan’s full cost. From a senior GOP Senate aid:

[There’s a] special Nevada provision that Baucus slipped into his managers amendment (page 10, 3rd item on page, modifying page 44 of the bill).  This will substantially increase federal Medicaid payments into Nevada to offset the changes in the bill.

Why would Nevada need increased payments from the federal government to help pay for this allegedly budget-neutral plan? (Keep up, will ya? We’ve already discussed this: because it’s — bzzzzt! — not budget-neutral.) And why Nevada? Let’s just say the politically vulnerable U.S. Senate Majority Leader can only run for re-election in one state at a time.

Categories: Health Care, Politics
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