When MSNBC broke the news that the CBO is projecting a $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009, the very first question daytime anchor Tamron Hall asked Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein was: will Obama have to scale back his plans to reform the health care system?
HALL: They were talking about what hard decisions the President will have to make in his first term, if he’s obviously not elected to a second one. He wants to tackle health care, he was at that town hall, talking about his bold agenda. Will he have to soon start to perhaps give Americans the tough love that maybe it won’t all be done now?
Pearlstein pushed back the conventional wisdom and pointed out that the best way to get deficits under control is to slow down “the key driver of those long-term deficits,” skyrocketing health care costs.
In fact, according to the CBO report, the president’s $634 billion health care fund is entirely revenue neutral:
Therefore, the President’s budget—and CBO in its analysis of the budget—shows no net effect on either revenues or outlays from this set of proposals (that is, revenue reductions related to health care reform are assumed to offset the revenue gains from changing the rate applied to itemized deductions, and outlays for health care reform are assumed to equal the outlay savings from the proposed policy changes).
So to make sure everyone is on the same page we should just call the health care bill what it actually is: a deficit reduction act.