As the struggle to come to a consensus on healthcare continues, experts remain divided as to the net effect healthcare reform would have on the national debt. Those supporting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan contend that it would reduce the burdensome healthcare costs now facing both the federal government and the individual.
Those against the plan assert that, even if costs were brought down, it would not occur quickly enough, and that in the short term, Washington would be saddled with a $200 billion annual healthcare commitment on top of the expected increase in costs caused by an influx of aging baby boomers.
Upon examination of the bill, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that expenses would be fully paid for by spending cuts and tax increases sufficient to cover an additional 30 million people, this to the glee of Democrats. However, the CBO also determined that the bill would not significantly curtail the country’s record deficit. According to Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution, “The hope that healthcare reform would take care of our budget problem has evaporated.”
Those with an eye toward to the budget fret that the legislature may be unwilling to keep the plan deficit-neutral. Already Republicans are planning an amendment that would eliminate more than $400 billion in proposed Medicare cuts, a move that would cripple the bill’s proposed financing.