Under fire from C-SPAN callers who accused her of selling her health care vote for $100 million in aid to Louisiana, Sen. Mary Landrieu on Tuesday made false claims about cost-cutting achieved by the Senate health care bill.
Asked by a C-SPAN host, “Can you specifically tell our viewers how this will lower health care costs?” Landrieu responded:
Well first of all, it’s going to lower the cost to our government over time. Again we’re spending 16 percent of our gross national product on health care. Japan, which is a competitor, and they’re a much smaller country, but they are a robust economic country in the world, they’re spending 8 percent of their GDP. Now, ours is projected to go up to 18 percent. So if we could taper this off, and stay at 16 percent, or go down to 15 percent, over time, 14 percent. That may be aggressive, but when we start bending that cost curve, the government will save money, therefore every taxpayer will save money.
She’s absolutely right that if we reduced the amount of money we spend on health care, it would save the government money. The problem is, the legislation she supports would do the exact opposite.
The government agency that is tasked with keeping tabs on total national health care expenditures — that is, the source of the 16 percent of GDP number — is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Earlier this month, CMS analyzed the Senate bill, and they found that if enacted, health care spending would swell to 20.9 percent of GDP — higher than if we simply did nothing.
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