Health Care Reform Will Weaken Economy

The Washington Post is reporting that instead of saving the federal government from fiscal disaster the health care reform measures being drafted by the Democrats would weaken the economy by increasing the deficit and sinking the nation deeper into debt.

This is according to director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office,Douglas Elmendorf.

Under questioning by members of the Senate Budget Committee, CBO director Douglas Elmendorf said bills crafted by House leaders and the Senate health committee do not propose "the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a signficant amount."

"On the contrary," Elmendorf said, "the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs."

Though President Obama and Democratic leaders have said repeatedly that reining in the skyrocketing growth in spending on giovernment health programs such as Medicaid and Medicare is their top priority, the reform measures put forth so far would not fulfill their pledge to "bend the cost curve" downward, Elmendorf said. Instead, he said, "The curve is being raised."

The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), questioned Elemendorf about the health care reform measures being drafted:

"I'm going to really put you on the spot," Conrad told Elmendorf. "From what you have seen from the products of the committees that have reported, do you see a successful effort being mounted to bend the long-term cost curve?"

Elmendorf responded: "No, Mr. Chairman."

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