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Taxpayer's Tab Issue #28

August 23, 2011

 

 

 

Vol. 2 Issue 28 August 23, 2011

 

NTUF Analysis: "Super Committee" Lawmakers Start Far Apart on Spending Reduction Ideas

The 12-member Congressional "Super Committee" charged with cutting $1.5 trillion from the federal budget over the next decade has been announced. An analysis by NTUF shows just how different their views are on spending programs. An examination of NTUF's BillTally data for each of the 12 panel members highlights individual legislative agendas whose impact on the budget would vary widely, from an annual cut in federal expenditures of just over $85 billion to a yearly increase of more than $1.15 trillion.

Among NTUF's findings is that Super Committee appointees sponsored or cosponsored 18 non-overlapping bills whose gross savings (not accounting for any spending-increase bills they supported) added up to $89.6 billion a year. None of these 18 pieces of legislation have bipartisan support among the Super Committee Members, but three of those proposals have been introduced in both chambers and have the backing of GOP Senators and Representatives on the panel. The savings of these three "common bills" are estimated at $41.3 billion total.

You can read the full release here.

For more information on the National Taxpayers Union Foundation or the BillTally Project, check out our website and methodology.

Most Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 676, Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act

Annualized Cost: $1.157 trillion (first-year cost)

Congressman John Conyers (MI-14) has introduced H.R. 676 to expand health care coverage to all US residents and to move the U.S. to a single-payer health system. Under H.R. 676, Medicare would become the country's only major insurance coverage provider. Patients would be allowed to choose which doctors and institutions to seek medical care from as long as those providers choose to participate in the program. The government would also create an electronic patient record system as well as a new board to ensure quality and access.

The bill would prohibit private for-profit insurance companies from selling health insurance plans that are deemed medically necessary. Medically necessary activities include doctor visits, surgeries, preventative and nutritional therapies, prescription drug purchases, and treatments associated with dental and vision care. However, private insurers would be allowed to sell plans for services like cosmetic surgery. Non-profit health plans -- such as HMOs -- would continue to be permitted to operate.

The program would be financed by increasing income taxes on the top 5% of earners and imposing new taxes on unearned income, stock and bond transactions, and by redirecting existing federal and state government health care funding. The Fund would effectively defund the current public health care programs of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Using the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid's 2012 projections of national health care expenditures, NTUF updated Single Payer Now's 2009 cost estimate for enacting H.R. 676. Total health spending is forecast to reach $2.82 trillion in 2012, with federal and state government's spending $1.28 trillion (under current laws). Sponsors of H.R. 676 claim their program will achieve $387 billion in savings through administrative consolidation and bulk purchases of prescription drugs and medical equipment. The remaining amount of what would otherwise be private health care spending ($1.16 trillion), would become federal outlays under this single-payer program.

One member of the "Super Committee," Congressman Xavier Bacerra (CA-31), has cosponsored the Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.

 

Least Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 1782, a bill to implement the recommendations of the report of the Government Accountability Office entitled "Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue"/S. 945, a bill to save at least $5,000,000,000 by consolidating some duplicative and overlapping Government programs

Annualized Savings: -$5 billion (first-year savings)

In March of this year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report detailing duplicative government programs. The report outlined at least $100 billion in savings that would result from streamlining the programs outlined. Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (MI-11) and Senator Tom Coburn (OK) have introduced legislation to implement some of GAO's recommendations. The bills do not specify what programs to consolidate or repeal, only that $5 billion must be saved.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.

 

Most Friended

The Bill: H.R. 59, Sunset All Czars Act

Annualized Cost: "No Cost" - Regulation

Number of Cosponsors: 54 Congressmen

High-level policy advisors who focus on a particular issue are sometimes called czars. The first such appointment occurred during President Franklin Roosevelt's administration, and every President -- except for John Kennedy -- has had one or more policy czars. Czars are typically used to address specific issues ranging from auto sector recovery to drug enforcement to even bird flu. President George W. Bush appointed the most czars at 49. Currently, President Obama has appointed 41 czars to address similar issues.

Congressman Steve Scalise (LA-1) introduced the Sunset All Czars Act to prohibit the Executive Office of the President from paying any salaries and/or expenses associated with the advisors. The measure is regulatory in nature because it limits what government officials can do but does not rescind any public dollars currently available to the Executive Office.

Cosponsors include 54 Congressmen, all of whom are Republicans.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.

 

Support NTUF

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is able to produce timely reports and analysis for policymakers and taxpayers with the help and support of foundations, small businesses, and Americans who wish to stay informed of their government's spending. With donations from Tab subscribers and members, NTUF will be able to continue to simplify important entitlement reform plans, examine budgets, and score legislation. Please consider making a tax-free contribution to NTUF.


 

With the new partnership with WashingtonWatch.com, The Taxpayer's Tab will also be changing to help you keep an eye on Congress. To give your own input, opinions, and research, click on the WashingtonWatch.com icon. You will go directly to that bill's page!


The Wildcard

The Bill: H.R. 2110, Long Island Sound Improvement Act Amendments of 2011

Annualized Cost: $225 million ($1.126 billion over five years)

H.R. 2110 would reauthorize $40 million for Long Island Sound pollution control programs and create a new yearly $225 million program to examine the impact of climate change on the Sound. The bill, sponsored by Congressman Timothy Bishop (NY-1), would require the federal government to study the impact of rising sea levels on water quality, habitat, and infrastructure. The legislation would also identify possible solutions. H.R. 2110 would also establish a pilot project to demonstrate the efficiency of extracting nutrients -- nitrogen and phosphorous -- from the Sound.

The passage of H.R. 2110 would result in a $225 million average annual spending increase for taxpayers for the new program. The government currently spends $40 million per year on other authorized pollution control activities in the Long Island Sound, including providing technical assistance and coordinating the cleanup operations of various agencies.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.


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We Want You!

NTUF is looking for fall and winter associate policy analysts to participate in our internship program. Associates assist with BillTally research and other policy projects. Academic credit is possible. Email questions to ntuf@ntu.org. To apply visit our internship page. Join us and help keep a tab on Congress!


 

About NTUF

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is a research and educational organization dedicated solely to helping citizens of all generations understand how tax policies, spending programs, and regulations at all levels affect them now and in the future. Through NTUF's timely information, analysis, and commentary, we're empowering citizens to actively engage in the fiscal policy debate and hold public officials accountable every day.

NTUF is a 501(c)(3) research and education organization. Donations are deductible for personal income tax purposes. Please make a donation today to help further NTUF's mission of research and education!

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation or as a comment on any Member's fitness to serve.

 

 



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