Democrats Use Accounting Gimmicks to Hide Cost of Build Back Better Bill

President Joe Biden is twisting arms to get “agreement” this week on hundreds of tax and spending provisions in his multitrillion-dollar social-welfare bill while key Democrats seem to be settling on a plan to keep the price tag down.

They want to reduce the overall size of the spending bill to “only” $1 trillion to $2 trillion (as though those two numbers were even remotely close), and only fund programs for a short time, assuming that it would be too painful for a future Congress to stop funding them.

There’s simply too much in this massive “Build Back Better” bill to digest—free community college, paid family leave, universal pre-K, bigger child tax credits, climate “incentives,” and, of course, major expansions of government spending on health care, as The Daily Signal has explained in numerous articles.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) says he wants a smaller bill and honest funding for the new programs it creates. He also wants more time to get it done. 

This is dangerous legislation, which would have to be passed both in the House and Senate with the smallest margins possible and signed by a president who is seeing his poll numbers plummet. But Democrats are moving ahead.

On health care, the supposedly “pared-down bill” would, for example:

  • Expand Obamacare and make generous health insurance subsidies available to the most affluent Americans—but only for four years, rather than the full 10.
  • Expand Medicaid to 2.2 Million People in States that have not expanded it under Obamacare. However, this is only temporary.
  • Expand Medicare’s benefits to cover hearing, dental, and vision care, but maybe with a voucher.
  • And spend $100 billion or so less than the $400 billion allocated for home health care—and labor union expansion.

“The main economic effect is crowd-out,” Brian Blase explained in ForbesIn a paper that analyzes the spending estimates of the Congressional Budget Office. 

“Most of this new government spending would replace private spending that otherwise would have occurred to purchase health insurance.”

Doug Badger asks in a Daily Signal article why politicians on “the left, many of whom want government to run our health system, are OK with shoveling hundreds of billions more to private health insurance companies to further boost their profits.”

Badger claims that up to 17% of new spending will be directed to profitable health insurance companies.

For conservatives, corporate profits and executive compensation aren’t troubling in and of themselves. They are concerned about the partnership between big government, big corporations in order to milk taxpayers and put their interests above the interests of consumers.

Liberal lawmakers should not vote for more profits in the health insurance industry, at least if they believe so.

Apparently, it isn’t. It turns out they are able to support arrangements that expand government control, even if it benefits big corporations or their CEOs.

The 133 House and Senate Democrats who have co-sponsored “Medicare for All,” which would abolish private health insurance companies, seem to be just fine with that, continuing an alliance between liberals and the health insurance industry that has been around since Obamacare’s creation.

Chris Holt from the American Action Forum reports that “as currently drafted, the Build Back Better reconciliation bill would likely spend more than the [Affordable Care Act]To insure between 4 and 6 [million] and 7 million previously uninsured people, while causing substantial disruption to insurance coverage for millions of people who are already insured.”

Politico reports leaders are now looking for Medicare Advantage plans to replace it. $100 billion to $150 billionto fund their social-welfare reform, with the goal of announcing an agreement on the bill’s structure this week.

The more they struggle, and the more Americans learn about the bill’s details, the more they will be able to help. the more difficultIt will be up the Democrats to pass it.

The Daily Signal offers a variety perspectives. This article is not meant to represent the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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