CBO Estimates Contrived; Coburn Warns Future Obama Appointees

Democrats began leaking preliminary Congressional Budget Office numbers yesterday in an effort to build some sort of momentum for their dead man walking health care bill.  And the President has postponed his trip to Asia.  Again.  If President Obama’s appearance on Fox News last night wasn’t enough to convince you that Democrats still don’t have the votes to pass their government takeover of health care, the scandalization of the CBO office should do the trick.

The CBO was forced into releasing preliminary numbers yesterday when House leaders began making premature pronouncements. To its credit, the CBO did put this disclaimer on the front page of its preliminary report:

“Although CBO completed a preliminary review of legislative language prior to its release, the agency has not thoroughly examined the reconciliation proposal to verify its consistency with the previous draft.  This estimate is therefore preliminary, pending a review of the language of the reconciliation proposal, as well as further review and refinement of the budgetary projections.”

Meaning they aren’t sure they’ve based their preliminary score on the latest version of the bill, either.  So the numbers are about as unreliable as, well, the Senate is to pass the House reconciliation bill unchanged.

I asked Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, about the preliminary CBO numbers at an informal pen and pad session with print reporters yesterday.  How can we tell if the preliminary score was even based on what will end up in the reconciliation bill?

“Obviously, we can’t,” Gregg told HUMAN EVENTS.  “This gives new meaning to the term ‘preliminary’ as ‘deeming’ gives new meaning to the term ‘vote.’”

Referring to yet another abuse of the process cooked up by Speaker Pelosi to “deem” the health care as passed in the House without members being allowed to vote on it, known as the “Slaughter Solution.”

I asked Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), top Republican on the House Ways & Means Committee, about this preliminary score of a preliminary draft of the preliminary reconciliation bill.

“This is a preliminary score because they did not have the legislative language,” Camp told HUMAN EVENTS.  “So they will go back now and look at the bill that’s actually been introduced and verify everything they thought was in it will actually be in it.  This is part of the problem with having all of this done in secret.  We’re going to be scrambling to understand what’s in this bill, as well.” 

“CBO’s initial report is not something you can take to the bank,” Camp continued.  “We don’t know it was based on any legislative language.  It could be based on a narrative.  So we will be scouring the bill.”

So these numbers are contrived, a scam perpetrated by Democrats?

“Yes, exactly,” Camp said.

Actually the CBO has a pretty poor track record in estimating government-run medical programs.  For instance:

• In 1965, it was estimated that by 1990 Medicare Part A would cost the federal government $9.1 billion. In reality, 1990 spending was $67 billion — seven times greater.
• Created in 1965, Medicare Part B was supposed to be funded through a $3 premium and $500 million in federal revenue. In 2008, Medicare Part B required $146.8 billion in government revenue — a 4300 percent increase.

Health Care Expands IRS by 16,500 Agents

House Ways & Means Republicans released a shocking new report yesterday exposing the new and expanded role of the IRS in Democrats’ new government takeover of health care.  (The full report can be viewed here.)

The IRS is the Democrats’ chosen instrument of enforcement for the new health insurance mandates.  Should the bill become law, the IRS will have sweeping new powers and authorities and will grow in size exponentially to accommodate its new role in health care mandate enforcement.

• IRS agents verify if you have “acceptable” health care coverage;
• IRS has the authority to fine you up to $2,250 or 2 percent of your income (whichever is greater) for failure to prove that you have purchased “minimum essential coverage;”
• IRS may need to hire as many as 16,500 additional auditors, agents and other employees to investigate and collect billions in new taxes from Americans;
• IRS can confiscate your tax refund;
• IRS audits are likely to increase;
• IRS will need up to $10 billion to administer the new health care program this decade; and
• Nearly half of all these new individual mandate taxes will be paid by Americans earning less than 300 percent of poverty ($66,150 for a family of four.)

The Republicans noted that despite the new mandates on American citizens, the Democrats prohibit the IRS from imposing these same taxes and penalties on illegal immigrants.

I spoke with Rep. Camp about this new report at the press conference.

“All of the powers of the IRS that they are able to use for delinquent taxpayers they will be able to use on individuals who don’t have government-defined ‘acceptable’ health insurance, and on a monthly basis,” Camp said.  “So if you’re without health insurance for one month, the fines are up to $2,250 or two percent of your wages whichever is greater. … All of their powers that they have now they would be able to pursue and since it’s on a monthly basis, and they’ll be allocating this per month, it could mean monthly audits.  So the intrusiveness is very disturbing.”

Not to mention the expense.

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wa.) spoke about possible jail time for non-payment of health care fees and fines.  Reichert is a former sheriff most notably famous for capturing Gary Leon Ridgway, the “Green River” serial killer later convicted of killing 48 women.

“As an old sheriff I know that if you arrest someone, they get free health care,” Reichert said.  “Once we arrest these people and they have free health care we’ll have to release them because they’d be in compliance with the law.  Then we’ll have to re-arrest them again.  This law makes no sense whatsoever.”

Sen. Coburn: You Can Run but You Can’t Hide

Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-Okla.), yesterday warned House Democrats that backroom deals and cushy government jobs for a health care vote are not in the cards for their future.

“I want to send a couple of messages to my colleagues in the House,” Coburn said.  “If you voted no and you vote yes, and you lose your election, and you think any nomination to a federal position isn’t going to be held in the Senate, I’ve got news for you. It’s going to be held.  Number two is, if you get a deal, a parochial deal for you or your district, I’ve already instructed my staff and the staff of seven other senators that we will look at every appropriations bill, at every level, at every instance, and we will outline it by district, and we will associate that with the buying of your vote. So, if you think you can cut a deal now and it not come out until after the election, I want to tell you that isn’t going to happen. And be prepared to defend selling your vote in the House.”

You can watch the video here.