Cold Feet on the Hot-Off-The-Press Deficit Reduction Story? Dems Already Backing Away from the CBO Report that They Commissioned

The fiction, manufactured by the CBO in a report revised and reissued at the instruction of the Dem leadership desperate to round up votes, that the pending healthcare reform bill will lower the deficit is quickly being exposed.
Over at The New Atlantis, James Capretta enumerates some items.

For starters, as I mentioned yesterday, the plan doesn’t count $371 billion in spending for physician fees under the Medicare program. The president and congressional Democrats want to spend this money, for sure. They just don’t want it counted against the health bill. That’s because they want to reserve all of the Medicare cuts in the bill as offsets for another entitlement instead of using them to pay for the problem that everyone knows needs fixing. …
Then there’s the “Cadillac” tax on high-cost insurance plans. Because of union pressure, the president pushed the tax back to 2018, well past the point when he will have left office. But once in place, the threshold used to determine “high-cost” will rise only with the Consumer Price Index, beginning in 2020. That means a very large segment of the middle class would get hit with the tax as the years passed. The president has shown that he is unwilling to actually collect this tax on his own watch. But he wants us to believe that we can count on a huge revenue jump over the long run because his successors will have more stomach for it than he does. …
The other gimmicks remain in the plan as well: The double-counting of premiums for long-term care insurance programs as an offset for the health entitlement spending. The assumption that Congress will allow Medicare reimbursement rates to fall so low that one in five hospitals and nursing homes might be forced to stop taking Medicare patients. …

Scott Gottlieb highlights one of the scarier items (no lack of those).

The hardest hit won’t be those earning more than $250,000 a year–the group that he says needs to “pay their fair share.” Rather, it’s families whose combined annual income is around $100,000 who could be crushed under this plan.
These folks will be too “rich” to qualify for ObamaCare’s subsidies, but probably too poor to easily afford the pricey insurance that the president’s plan forces them to buy.
Many of these $100K families will be obliged to buy a policy costing an average of $14,700 for the mid-level, “silver” health plan, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimates. After income taxes, they’ll be spending almost a quarter of their net income for health insurance.

And for those tempted to believe the conclusion of the CBO report ghost written by the Dem leadership, Jay Severin pointed out yesterday that

No government program has ever come in remotely close to budget.

Now, Politico has posted a leaked memo [PDF] apparently issued today by the Congressional Democrat leadership. [H/T The Corner’s Daniel Foster.]

We have increasingly noticed how right-wing fringe trying to pick apart the CEO score. We cannot emphasize enough: do not allow yourself (or your boss) to get into a discussion of the details of the CBO scores and textual narrative. Instead, focus only on the deficit reduction and number of Americans covered. There are two CBO letters Republican operatives have already begun distorting in their pursuit of killing our reform efforts: 1) CBO’s March 11, 2010 letter to Leader Reid analyzing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as passed by.the Senate, and 2} CBO’s letter to Leader Reid (November 18, 2009) with the initial score of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I list these letters only to warn you of coming attscks from right-wing operatives and Republican sympathizers in the media. Those anti-reform extremists are making a last-ditch effort to derail reform. Do not give them ground by debating details. (For example, the March 11 letter has estimates of discretionary costs not accounted in the total). Again, instead focus only on the deficit reduction and number of Americans covered. In the critical remaining hours of debate we must drive the narrative of “health reform is deficit reduction.” …

In other words, the assumptions and conclusions of the new CBO report are indefensible. So stick to generalized talking points until we can buy or muscle enough votes to ram this baby through on Sunday.

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13 years ago

The thing all Americans need to understand about the CBO is they simply deal with the numbers presented, i.e. garbage in = garbage out.
Their function is not to blow the whistle or make judgement on the sleazy gimmickry and blatant fraud the Dems are hoisting as legit expenditure, CBO’s function is to crunch the numbers and compute the cost of what they’re presented with.
Garbage in = Garbage out!

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