In watching the introductory remarks to the White House “fiscal responsibility summit,” it became clear that this media stunt is largely aimed at setting the stage for Obama’s health-care agenda.
In his speech, Obama said that health care is “the single most pressing long-term fiscal challenge we are facing by far.”
His director of Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag, speaking ahead of Obama, declared, “Health care reform is entitlement reform. The path to fiscal responsibility runs directly through health care reform.”
Of course, both Obama and Orszag are correct that health care is our biggest fiscal challenge, but the problem is that their idea of “reform” will drastically augment our entitlement crisis. Even if one were to buy into the unrealistic savings Obama promises as a result of rationing care, increasing the use of IT, and improving access to preventative care, those imagined savings will be offset many times over by plans to provide subsidies for every American to acquire health insurance.
When you cut through the rhetoric, what Obama is saying is that the only war to rein in entitlements is to expand them.