Late last week the Post’s Ezra Klein wrote a blog posting talking about all the ways Republicans have supposedly flip-flopped since the health care debate, largely in regard to the House Republican budget. First off, some may find it more than a bit ironic that Klein alleged Democrats HAVEN’T been hypocritical on health care, given all of Barack Obama’s noteworthy flip-flops since 2008, a mere sample of which are included below.
More to the point, Klein (and others) have criticized the House Republican budget for retaining the health care law’s reductions in Medicare spending, given that the Medicare actuary and others have suggested some of these reductions might be unsustainable in the long term. However, the House budget also repeals the law’s $2.6 trillion coverage expansion. Therein lies the BIG fiscal difference between the House Republican position and the Democrat-passed law: If all the Medicare reductions can’t be sustained under the House Republican budget, the deficit still gets reduced – just not by as much as originally projected – while under the Democrat-passed law, the deficit will INCREASE, because all the “savings” (regardless of whether or not they will actually materialize) have already been spent.
Given all of this, it’s reasonable to ask: Which party has been more responsible fiscally – and more responsible politically?
Candidate Obama vs. President Obama on Health Care
- Candidate Obama repeatedly promised to cut the average family’s premiums by $2,500 per year – but according to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill he signed into law will RAISE premiums in the individual market by $2,100 per year.
- Candidate Obama promised his health care plan would cost “$50-65 billion a year when fully phased in;” CBO now projects that the REAL cost of the coverage expansions will be $229 billion in 2020 and $245 billion in 2021 – four times the levels of spending promised.
- Candidate Obama openly derided an individual mandate, asking Hillary Clinton whether she planned to garnish people’s wages, and arguing that “If a mandate was a solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everyone buy a house.” Yet President Obama supported a mandate, “absolutely reject[ing]” the notion it was a tax increase, only to have his Administration argue after the bill passed that it was.
- Candidate Obama made repeated campaign promises about televising the health care negotiations on C-SPAN – a promise which was never seriously kept, and which then-Speaker Pelosi publicly mocked.
- Candidate Obama promised that “you will not have to change plans,” but the Obama Administration’s own estimates revealed that half of all employers – and as many as 80% of small businesses – will be forced to give up their current coverage.
- Candidate Obama made a “firm pledge” not to raise any taxes on the middle class – a pledge which even Democrats admitted that President Obama has broken.