Snake oil

It'd be easy to say we told you so, but what would be the point? After all, anybody who argued that ObamaCare would actually reduce health care costs was either lying, wishfully naive or in possession of a newborn's critical thinking skills.

On Friday, the latest nonpartisan report on the health care reform bill provided more evidence for the obvious: The Democrats' massive federal intervention into health care will drive up costs and bleed the budget.

The Medicare Office of the Actuary concluded that under the new law, health care costs will likely increase over the next 10 years by about 1 percent -- and potentially much more because Medicare cuts contained in the legislation are likely unsustainable.

Democrats front-loaded the dozens of tax hikes in the bill while claiming the Medicare adjustments would offset the costs of forcing 30 million more Americans into the system. But the report suggests the cuts could push as many as 15 percent of hospitals into the red, meaning there will be intense pressure on elected officials to reinstate the higher reimbursement rates.

In addition, the report predicts that reductions in payments to private Medicare Advantage plans -- popular with many seniors -- could dry up their customer base by 50 percent and lead to higher out-of-pocket costs. Meanwhile, a new voluntary long-term care program created by ObamaCare faces "a very serious risk" of going bankrupt.

"A trillion dollars gets spent, and it's no surprise -- health care costs are going to go up," Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., a leading Republican on health care issues, told The Associated Press.

Already, a handful of U.S. corporations have weighed in, noting that the law could cost them billions of dollars, affecting both retirees and current workers alike. For that, company CEOs were vilified by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who threatened to drag them to Capitol Hill for another dog-and-pony show.

Rep. Waxman eventually backed off, realizing that the less he and his fellow Democrats say about their crowning progressive achievement, the better, given public sentiment about the health care takeover. But will he now ridicule the number crunchers at Medicare?

Government-run health care will be cheaper? Have some more snake oil.