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Bill Nelson: Less Investment In Health Care Will ‘Bring Down The Cost Over The 10-Year Period’

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"Bill Nelson: Less Investment In Health Care Will ‘Bring Down The Cost Over The 10-Year Period’"

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A small group of Democratic lawmakers who agree with the President’s domestic policies, but refuse to finance his budgetary priorities — health care reform, cap and trade, education. Budget Committee heavyweights like Sens. Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Bill Nelson (D-FL), for instance, want to dig the nation out of the economic recession with comprehensive health care reform with old shovels.

Today, when Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer asked Nelson, “what concessions would you push for in that budget proposal,” Nelson pointed to health care:

NELSON: So you have to finagle with the numbers. You want to keep on the three main themes of the president – which is the environment, health, and education – but how we’re going to pull this off, it’s going to take Merlin the Magician. Kent Conrad, our chair of the budget committee, is definitely going to have to be Merlin.

HEMMER: I didn’t hear a firm answer on there. What concessions would you push for in that budget proposal?

NELSON: Well, you’re going to have to redo healthcare so that some of its upfront costs are less, so that you bring down the cost over the 10-year period.

Watch it:

Not quite sure what Nelson is getting at. Invest less in reforming the health care system and you’ll realize greater savings down the road? On the contrary, most experts believe that we’ll have to invest as much as $1.5 trillion to really bend the curve on health care spending and save $3 trillion by 2020.

But what’s most troubling is how quickly one places health care reform on the chopping block. Deficits too high? Cut health care reform! Judd Gregg mouths off about deficits bankrupting the country? Cut health care reform! This answer is completely counter-factual. Perhaps it’s political or the vestige of Bush-era thinking. Either way, Democrats on the Budget Committee shouldn’t rely on “magic” to solve the economic crisis and they shouldn’t have have too much trouble making the case for investing heavily in health care reform to save the economy.

No matter how hard Conrad works his magic, he won’t address the real structural problems so long as Democrats only rhetorically support the initiative. As President Obama recently pointed out, “To those who say we have to choose between health care reform and fiscal discipline, I say that making investments now that will dramatically lower health care costs for everyone won’t add to our budget deficit in the long term; it is one of the best ways to reduce it.”

Transcript:

HEMMER: Is it the healthcare reform that you’d kick out, is it the proposal to reform greenhouse gasses, that may cost us as much as $2 trillion. Pick your poison. What would you kick out?

NELSON: Well, Bill, this is where you’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t. You have to reform healthcare, otherwise you can never make financial ends meet, because we cannot afford the way that healthcare costs continue to increase in the cost of the government. Likewise, on the problem of too much carbon dioxide going into the air, you’ve got to get a handle on that, and that is a way of also raising revenue because of the auction of all of those credits in the cap-and-trade kind of legislation. So you have to finagle with the numbers. You want to keep on the three main themes of the president – which is the environment, health, and education – but how we’re going to pull this off, it’s going to take Merlin the Magician. Kent Conrad, our chair of the budget committee, is definitely going to have to be Merlin.

HEMMER: I didn’t hear a firm answer on there. What concessions would you push for in that budget proposal?

NELSON: Well, you’re going to have to redo healthcare so that some of its upfront costs are less, so that you bring down the cost over the 10-year period.

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