Thursday, March 18, 2010

The CBO Healthcare Story . . . & The Rest Of The Story

The lead article at the Washinton Post at the moment:

CBO: $940 billion health bill would help cut deficit over 10 years

An emerging compromise on health care between House and Senate Democrats would cost $940 billion over the next decade and expand insurance coverage to an additional 32 million Americans, congressional budget analysts said Thursday. Their preliminary report suggests the two-part legislation would bring the nation closer to universal health coverage than at any time in its history.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the measure would make insurance available to an estimated 95 percent of non-elderly citizens by dramatically expanding Medicaid, the government health program for the poor, and offering tax credits to an estimated 24 million Americans who would otherwise find it difficult to afford coverage. . . .

And, to borrow from the late great radio personality, Paul Harvey, "now for the rest of the story:"

The Washington Post and Politico are blaring headlines about these claimed savings.

However, House Budget Committee Ranking Republican Paul Ryan (WI) issued the following statement:

“The Congressional Budget Office has confirmed that there is currently no official cost estimate. Yet House Democrats are touting to the press – and spinning for partisan gain – numbers that have not been released and are impossible to confirm. Rep. James Clyburn stated he was “giddy” about these unsubstantiated numbers. This is the latest outrageous exploitation by the Majority – in this case abusing the confidentiality of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office – to pass their massive health care overhaul at any cost.”

I just asked a highly-placed Senate source about the numbers, and why the Republicans weren’t talking about the bizarre assumptions – savings over time that are assumed but won’t happen, rosy scenarios about cost reductions and tax revenues and the like -- that are the only foundation on which CBO could have reached their conclusions.

The short answer is that the Republicans (at least the Senate Republicans) haven’t been allowed to see the report yet.

Maybe Pelosi deems them to have seen it.

And this is American democracy? Find my tar, feathers . . . and perhaps some rope. We need not only to get the progressives in office, we damn well need to visit a few newspaper offices.


Anonymous said...


OBloodyHell said...

> Find my tar, feathers . . . and perhaps some rope.

You forgot the pitchfork. It's not a properly outraged mob without pitchforks...

The next decade will indeed be....interesting.