Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing entitled: Unaffordable: Impact of Obamacare on Americans’ Health Insurance. (Always nice to know that our elected representatives are keeping an open mind.)
Prominent on the list of witnesses: “Douglas Holtz-Eakin.” Even before reading his testimony, I knew what Holtz-Eakin would say: young, health Americans should brace for “sticker shock.” Conservatives like Holtz-Eakin tend to stay on script. However stale the rhetoric, they firmly believe that if you repeat a sound-bite often enough, people will believe it.
Who is Douglas Holtz-Eakin?
If you recognize the name, it’s probably because Holtz-Eakin has become a familiar figure in the mainstream media, quoted in the New York Times, writing Op-eds for Reuters and Politico.com, and appearing, not only on Fox Business News, but on CNN and the PBS’ Newshour.
Alternatively, “Holtz-Eakin” may ring a bell because he served as a member of George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), and as Director of Bush’s Congressional Budget Office (CBO.)
In a remarkably candid 2011 interview, Holtz Eakin recalled his tour in the Bush administration:
“Going into the summer of 2001, things were getting worse. . . When we first went in and talked to the President, Glenn [Hubbard] and Larry Lindsey said, ‘Mr. President . . . We’re probably not going to run a surplus on budget. We’re going to run a deficit.”
Bush’s reply: “We’re not going to run a deficit. If you come in here with a deficit, you’re both fired. Go fix it.’”
“We ended up running a budget surplus of one billion dollars,” Holtz-Eakin confided, “driven by gimmicks of remarkable proportions.”