With a little noted remark at an appearance in Cannon Falls, Minn., on Monday, President Obama tacitly acknowledged that his signature legislative achievement won’t meet its stated goal.
It’s undeniable that health care inflation — which helps drive the ballooning cost of Medicare and Medicaid — is the most significant fiscal challenge we face. The problem is, the health care plan that Obama rammed through Congress ended up making our problems worse, as it relied on the very type of accounting tricks he decried.
To make the legislation appear cheaper over the standard 10-year budget window, Obama and his Democratic allies delayed the major spending provisions until 2014. To be able to claim modest deficit reduction, they turned to other gimmicks.
The president now says that the chief barrier to tackling the debt is that Republicans in Congress won’t agree to a “balanced approach” of tax increases and spending cuts. But when his party controlled Congress, with a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, Obama didn’t push for the kind of deficit-reduction plan he now claims to support.
That Obama is now talking about the need “take on” long-term health care costs, even after passing his law, is an admission of what many of us already knew: Obamacare was never about reducing health care spending.