Daily Editors' Notes

What the healthcare reform numbers now tell us

Share this article:
James M. Berklan, McKnight's Editor
James M. Berklan, McKnight's Editor
It's really true: There are lies, damn lies and … Congressional Budget Office estimates.

That's probably being muttered by more than a few political hard-liners on both sides of the aisle in Washington these days. That's because the CBO has come out with revised cost figures in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act.

It's safe to assume nobody is going to have his or her mind changed after reading the latest CBO numbers. Ideally, the non-partisan CBO would settle fights, not add fuel to both sides' positions. Yet, that's precisely what could be happening.

In a nutshell, the CBO found that when the Supreme Court ruled that individual states could delay (or ignore) expansion of their Medicaid rolls, as the Obama plan dictates, it actually lowered the projected cost of “Obamacare.”

However, the CBO also issued figures that said repealing the healthcare reform law now would add far less to the budget deficit than previously forecast.

In both cases, a loss becomes a win?

House Republicans voted last week to repeal the healthcare reform legislation for at least the 32nd time. (I might have missed a few votes when I was mowing the lawn, someone told me.) Repeal efforts, though powerful and voluminous, are currently a dead-end. But it's a fire the GOP keeps burning, just in case Republicans take control of Congress and the White House in November. It's a far-sighted strategy.

In the meantime, expect more rancor. Political heavyweights are going to toss around plenty of big numbers, many from the CBO.

Don't be surprised if sometime during this political season you come across a new commercial from the Democrats: “See, the Supreme Court ruling leads to Affordable Care Act costs that are $84 billion less than previously thought!”

Close on the heels could come this Republican spot: “The Supreme Court, while wrong-headed in its approval of the individual insurance mandate, also showed that states can't be kowtowed into ballooning their Medicaid spending. And now repeal would never be cheaper!”

Oh, and that most recent projected tab for the president's healthcare reform package? It's down to only $1.168 trillion — or $1,168,000,000,000 if you're not using shorthand.

Numbers like that are enough to make a person long for simpler days, like those along the Mississippi River with Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.

Share this article:
close

Next Article in Daily Editors' Notes

Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editor's Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor on Monday and Friday; Staff Writer Tim Mullaney on Tuesday, Editor James M. Berklan on Wednesday and Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman on Thursday.

    ALL MCKNIGHT'S BLOGS

    More in Daily Editors' Notes

    Could you make money if Mom's nursing home does a good job?

    Could you make money if Mom's nursing home ...

    A man recently raised more than $51,000 ... to make potato salad. And in a similar type of online campaign, senior living investment company Mainstreet raised more than $1.6 million ...

    Finally, a Medicaid funding plan that actually makes sense

    Finally, a Medicaid funding plan that actually makes ...

    When politicians talk about Medicaid funding and nursing homes these days, an unsettling theme often emerges: the need to spend less of the former on the latter.

    What are the scouts saying about your long-term care organization?

    What are the scouts saying about your long-term ...

    There is no draft in senior living, nor really a need for one. But what if its three most dominant players were to be sized up? How might the scouts ...